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Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

The Environment and Agriculture: Burkina Faso

Water in Africa

Africa, Burkina Faso

by Jonathan Coleman, Pensa, Burkina Faso

The pumps donated by government and nongovernmental organizations (like Save the Children, Plan International, and Christians for the Sahel) have made everyday life much easier for the village. Even during the dry season, people in Pensa can access water and use it for a variety of purposes. Additionally, villages near Pensa have installed relatively complex systems of aqueducts for irrigation.

The only problem with these wonderful advancements is that they often break down, fail to work, or don't have the desired effect of fulfilling a perceived need. When a pump breaks in Pensa, no one knows how to fix it. A pump next to my health clinic broke down, and it has taken two months to fix. All the clinic's water had to be carried an extra two kilometers each day from another pump. That's a lot of hard work. A major problem with introducing new, advanced technology into a village is maintenance, repairs, upkeep, and upgrades. Who's going to do all this work? Who understands the technology? How many pumps, irrigation aqueducts, and latrines aren't in use now because they lack a minor, simple repair? That's where Peace Corps Volunteers come in. We work with the villagers to increase their understanding and create their own systems of management and maintenance.

by Jenelle Norin, Safane, Burkina Faso

As the village grows, the number of pumps grows as well. Although this helps alleviate lines during the dry season, during the rest of the year, no one uses those pumps. The villagers prefer well water, believing that it has more minerals.

by Anne Hong, Bassan, Burkina Faso

Some organizations have recently sponsored the construction of a number of pumps. Because of this, access to quality water has improved. These pumps provide water that is cleaner and more reliable than the traditional hand-dug wells. Still, the majority of women draw water from wells since there are a limited number of these pumps.

A solar-energy-powered panel provides water to three locations. This source cannot meet the needs of everyone in the village, however. Furthermore, everyone who uses this water must contribute to its maintenance costs. While this makes sense, it also discourages people from using it.

by Shana Miller, Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso

The municipal water organization, ONEA, is in the process of installing a new system of pipes, and is also building a large water tower near my house. Although these additions are intended to improve water delivery, they are one of the reason why our water is cut off so frequently.

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