Beyond the Ribbon Cutting

This video by Water for People demonstrates why how matters on this Blog Action Day 2010 for access to clean water. When “solutions” are delivered to disadvantaged people without sufficient thought about how community ownership, maintenance, and long-term access to water and sanitation will occur, here’s what can happen:

(Alternative link can be found here.)

Don’t the people who need the access to clean water and sanitation deserve more? Water for People refuses to be satisfied with these unfortunate results.

Water for People focuses on:

  • 100% coverage in a region, rather than community or household water points;
  • leveraging government and private sector investment to ensure real sustainability; and
  • integrity by measuring and sharing their results with communities at 3, 6, and 10 years;
  • all with vital intention of “figuring out how to make a complex network of people work better together…and building local capacity” to unleash the power of innovative thinking. (To learn more about Water for People’s leadership in the sector, see: Rethinking Hydro-Philanthropy. See also’s model that focuses on demand-driven projects by grassroots organizations.)

No more dysfunctional and now dangerous wells. No more inoperative pumps. No more overflowing and abandoned latrines. No more failed projects. And no more lost hope.

Yes, let’s mobilize people to become aware of the nearly 1 billion people lacking access to clean water around the world. But let’s also recognize that building wells is not enough. Let’s respect these 1 billion people’s dignity by…

Thinking………………..…LONG TERM,

building on……………….LOCAL EXPERTISE,

and recognizing that……..HOW MATTERS!


N.B. Vanguard has a great episode entitled, the World’s Toilet Crisis. A secondary title could have been, sh@% matters!


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  4. Tom Alberts

    At a riding school outside Maputo in Mozambique we improved the latrin a few years ago – The school has expanded rapidly and will move to new premises next year.
    Unfortunately the video was very “shaky” so it is difficult to access the inteeresting ideas.

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