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Water and sanitation

The provision of clean water for drinking and for hygiene is an important factor in human health and well-being. A large percentage of the disease burden in countries with poor infrastructure is related to the poor quality of drinking water. Tear’s partners provide clean drinking water in several ways: by improving or protecting springs and wells, by drilling boreholes and installing hand pumps, and by gravity systems in hilly areas, where gravity is used to convey water from clean, protected springs to lower-lying villages.

Another important component is addressing sanitation needs by provision of latrines and toilets at households or social infrastructure premises (e.g. schools, clinics), distribution of hygiene kits and by running hygiene extension training and awareness campaigns for rural and urban communities.

Community participation

The provision of clean drinking water is not just a matter of digging wells or drilling boreholes. Such efforts are not sustainable if the local population is unable to organise itself to take care of the pump or to address issues of hygiene and basic health. Community participation plays a key role in clean drinking water projects. That is why water programmes also involve training in maintenance of the water system and education about how to keep clean water uncontaminated and general health and hygienic practices. This is called the software side of water programmes, as opposed to the hardware side of drilling, installing concrete slabs to protect the pump and bolting down the pump.

Another important stakeholder is the government, which has its own water department and should be involved in the selection of the most needy sites in an area.

Water programmes are expensive, as they need heavy equipment which often has to be brought to remote villages. Sometimes there are no roads for the drilling rig, and transport costs can be high. It is important to complement the technical work with appropriate community work, so that the clean water will be available over a long period and will be accompanied by other health-related activities to ensure a greater positive impact on the life of the community.

Ontwerp & realisatie: Nilsson