Project Fatsaka is a community capacity building well management and maintenance programme that aims to empower rural communities so that they may self-sufficiently maintain wells and retain long-term access to safe drinking water.
How many times did you turn on the tap, wash your hands or drink a glass of water today? You probably didn’t even consider the quantity or quality of what you’ve consumed. For people living in rural Madagascar, even for those lucky enough to have a well in their community, the situation is far more challenging.
With limited availability of improved water sources, more than 65% of Madagascar's rural population is forced to consume unsafe, often contaminated, water from ponds, rivers and wells (WaterAid, 2015). The effects of unsafe water consumption comprise multi-dimensional barriers to the country’s development. Each year over 4000 children under-five die from diarrhoeal diseases caused by contaminated water and poor santitaion and hygiene practices (WaterAid 2017). Moreover, an estimated 3.5 million school days and 5 million work days are lost each year as a result of water and sanitation related diseases (UNICEF 2015). By impeding education and impairing productive livelihood activities, the lack of access to safe drinking water and poor drinking water practices further entraps rural communitites, such as those in the Mahatalaky Rural Commune, into a vicious cycle of poverty.
While building a well might be a fantastic first step to help communities gain access to a safe water source, infrastructure provision alone is not sufficient for sustainable, long-term access to safe water. All too often, the focus of water provision projects is to solely build well infrastructure, without planning for long-term operation and maintenance. Even the most robust technologies will not last forever and require continuous maintenance and at some point, they will too require repairs.
With little to no support from the local government, it is crucial that communities have the motivation and technical skills to ensure wells function effectively in the future without needing external support or funding.
Nearly half of Madagascar’s rural water systems broke down in 2013, one third of which were not fixed properlyUNICEF, 2014
During the pilot phase of Fatsaka, we encouraged 15 communities across the Mahatalky Rural Commune to take ownership of their wells. Through the innovative application of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), communities were motivated to use their protected water sources and recognise the health implications of poor drinking water, sanitation and hygiene practices.
Communities were subsequently supported to establish well committees and to draw up financial and action plans. With activities resulting in 13 highly motivated communities, SEED built the local capacity to carry out essential well repairs and supported communities to establish sustainable management and maintenance systems. Through technical and financial management training tailored to individual community needs, SEED helped 13 communities gain the skills to manage and maintain their protected water sources without the continued need for external technical support or funding in the future.
Having successfully trialed this innovative method in a first phase, SEED has expanded Project Fatsaka to bring a long-term supply of an improved water source to a further 15 communities, helping an estimated 10,072 impoverished people achieve their human right to safe water.
By collaborating with local authorities, community leaders, schools and national WASH networks we intend to improve knowledge, skills and structures to ensure communities have sustainable access to safe drinking water.
SEED would like to thank POD, Christadelphian Meal a Day, Clark Mitchel Trust, Beatrice Laing Trust, the Bryan Guinness Charitable Trust, Global Giving, the Merstham Aid Project and the Herrod Foundation for their support to Project Fatsaka.
Duration: 12 months
Target reach: 15 rural communities
Main activities: Baseline/endline surveys of well usage, community needs and priorities; community triggering sessions; well committee establishment and action planning; technical training sessions
Duration: 18 months
Target reach: 28 rural communities, Over 10,000 new beneficiaries
Main activities: Baseline mapping of wells; continued support and monitoring of the original 13 communities; identification of 15 additional communities; community triggering sessions; development of action plans; well assessment and repairs; establishment of well committees; technical training sessions; WASH lessons in schools; distribution of information, communication and education (IEC) materials; cross-community learning visits.