February 6, 2014
Sometimes implementation of our water projects doesn’t go according to plan, despite careful advance work and assessments. In such situations, Voss Foundation is glad to be working with trusted partners in whom we place great confidence.
On Monday, FACE Africa, Voss Foundation’s implementing partner in Liberia, informed us that, due to unforeseen environmental challenges, work could not continue at the current site of our Little Liberia project. The Little Liberia project, funded by the First Annual Voss Foundation Benefit for Clean Water held in East Hampton at Georgica, is this year’s featured project for VOSS Water’s 31 Days To Make A Difference – Living Well campaign.
Emmett Wilson, FACE Africa’s Program Coordinator, e-mailed to explain that, “after reaching a depth 29ft 7days ago, [the team]saw sign of water… [at that time]the technicians [advised]that we dig another 6ft to enable the well [to]have sustainable water even during the height of the dry season… we’ve reached a depth of 45ft, but there is no sign of sustainable water. After 12hrs of overnight water recharging we only observed 8inches of water level this morning. At this point the technicians advised that we go another 3ft… we’ve [now]passed the 3ft depth, and there is still no sign of [sustainable]water so we can no longer use this particular hole.
Site selection is an issue here, as the town itself is located up the hill and the nearest water source is very far. Also, [we’ve found]the soil below this area is one the that does not store water.
I recommend that the project be implemented at a neighboring town [where the team has carried out a preliminary assessment]…”
Although this doesn’t happen frequently, over the course of the last five years, Voss Foundation and our partners have had to change the intended site of a project on two other occasions after breaking ground due to unforeseen circumstances. In 2011, our first project funded by Just Around the Corner Art Auction in Samburuland, Kenya, with partner Milgis Trust was meant to be at a remote site called Nyiroyia. However, tribal unrest in the area forced Milgis Trust and Voss Foundation to reevaluate both the safety of the implementing team and the longtime sustainability of the project and move the project to Urra. We continue to monitor the situation at Nyiroyia, and hope to be able to return one day. In the second case, though the original site for our project in James Town, Liberia, one of five wells funded by Lene Maria for Rent Vann in 2012, was located at the Gblosseo Community Clinic, the implementing team discovered that the well constructed by a previous NGO was impossible to rehabilitate. Again, our partners notified us and worked out a plan to implement the project at a different site. In both instances, the alternate sites were selected after a thorough assessments and conversations with the communities. When possible, our partners chose sites in close proximity to the original location.
Challenges like these are exactly why strong partnerships and an adaptable approach that encourages a flexible response to conditions on the ground, focusing on each individual community’s unique needs and capabilities, and ensures the most efficient use of available resources, are essential for Voss Foundation.
It is of utmost importance to us to have partners that not only value transparency, alerting us to of challenges as they arise, but have the experience and capacity to positively respond to challenges as they arise. This is the one of the reasons we place such a strong emphasis establishing partnerships with organizations that adhere to our high standards of efficiency, transparency, procedure and reporting.
Voss Foundation is excited to share more about the outcome of the Little Liberia project through VOSS Water’s 31 Days To Make A Difference Campaign – Living Well. 31 Days is VOSS Water’s annual international campaign designed to raise awareness about Voss Foundation’s work and the global need for clean drinking water across their social media platforms. The campaign, which runs from World Water Day (March 22) through Earth Day (April 22), will document all the steps that went into completing the Little Liberia project from start to finish, including the unforeseen challenges that Voss Foundation and FACE Africa are currently working to overcome.