October 11, 2013
We are pleased to present the completion report we just received from our 2012 Women Helping Women project in Swaziland! The Ntontozi Water and Sanitation Project addressed water, sanitation and hygiene threats faced by more than 6300 people (160 homesteads) in Ndinda and Ngyoyia in the KaNdinda Chiefdom. Our 2012 Women Helping Women events in San Francisco, New York, and Boston funded the construction of four new handpumps and 100 ventilated improved pit latrines to reduce the time women spend collecting water, reduce water-borne diseases, improve personal and environmental health, and increase time for income-generating activities.
Voss Foundation partnered on this project with Gone Rural boMake (GRb), a Swaziland-based non-profit founded in 2006 by Gone Rural, an organization whose goal is to generate sustainable income for women in rural areas; Rosecraft, a Swazi artisan workshop that specializes in fair trade carpets, rugs, shawls and jerseys made from mohair, cotton, wool and silk; and Nest, a New York-based non-profit dedicated to collaborating with artisans in the developing world.
These three organizations proposed the clean water project to benefit the communities of the women artisans with whom they work. The artisans indicated that one of their greatest challenges was lack of access to the clean water supply, and almost half of the women and their families also practiced open defecation due to absence of sanitation facilities. They knew that access to clean water would ultimately make them more productive and their businesses more profitable – a perfect display of Voss Foundation’s Ripple Effect!
The project began with the a four-day Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation workshop designed to change knowledge, attitudes, and practices. Fifty-two participants attended the training. At the end of the training, participants elected seven members to a Water and Sanitation Committee. The committee coordinated with GRb during project implementation and was trained in the various aspects of water management, from setting up an operation and maintenance fund to minor maintenance of the system. Now they also oversee a subcommittee of community members who are responsible for monitoring daily operations.
In the next phase of implementation, four boreholes were drilled and fitted with deep well hand pumps and 100 ventilated improved pit latrines were constructed or repaired. In the photo at right, Prince Lukwabitsi cuts the sod at the site of the first borehole. The proposal had called for only 30 latrines to be constructed, but GRb soon discovered that as many 100 households would need assistance with sanitation. So, the communities helped identify and procure local materials to reduce costs and make it possible to assist provide new or upgraded sanitation facilities for all 100 households that needed them. “Tippy taps,” hygienic handwashing stations operated with a foot pedal that uses minimal amounts of water, were also constructed next to the latrines.
To implement the project, the GRb and Rosecraft project team collaborated with Ministry of Health (Department of Environmental Health) and Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy (Department of Water Affairs) as well as private contractors. The two government departments deal with environmental health (sanitation and hygiene) and rural water supply respectively, to prepare the communities for the project.
Continuous rain at the beginning of the year delayed the start of the project, but construction was still completed in time for the arrival of a Voss Foundation site visit and donor trip on June 22nd, 2013, the date of the official hand-over of the of the project to the communities. Members of the Swazi royal family, the Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Natural Resoruces and Energy, Chief for KaNdinda, Prince Lukwabistsi, and members of government, NGOs, the Water and Sanitation Committee, and community members attended the opening.
As Voss Foundation always likes to learn how to improve our projects, we request that our partners detail any setbacks or mistakes along the way. GRb found that lack of a dedicated vehicle during project implementation was a serious challenge. Planned site visits often had to be rescheduled to accommodate other program activities. Often, a minimum of four visits per week were planned, but sometimes only one to two took place, which limited the smooth flow of activities and communication. GRb now knows that they must budget for a dedicated car in future project proposals.
Donors may remember that a fifth borehole was funded – but it has not yet been constructed. This is because the original site selected was on the border between the KaNdinda and Mpini Cheifdoms, which posed a problem. The communities have now agreed an alternative site in KaNdinda should be found and we will update you when we have more information on its status.
Voss Foundation looks forward to future collaboration with GRb and Rosecraft in Swaziland to provide access to clean water to more women artisans and their communities! In the meantime, we encourage you to further support these artisans – and help prove the power of the ripple effect of clean water! – by shopping their wares on the Swaziland page of our African Bazaar website – or at our upcoming October 18th African Bazaar Pop-Up Shop in San Francisco or our Fourth Annual Women Helping Women New York Luncheon on November 14th!