It takes a whole community to make a change

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By Alex Schwartz
March 19, 2019

In my town, energy is sporadic. A great part of the community, including students in our school, get water from the electric pump. So when electricity goes off, so does water.

The well was gradually taking shape
Construction in progress

For a school of over 1,000 students (our school), this is a big deal because there is no manual source of water on campus. Therefore, in the absence of a mechanical water pump, there is no other way to get water. This situation had been prevailing for a long time until my friends and I decided to take action.

A friend of mine told me about a process called ABCD, or Asset-Based Community Development. Essentially, rather than begging for outside money, you make the focus asking for help within the community. So we did just that!

Students gave a hand to build the well
Students gave a helping hand.

Day after day, my friends and I asked members of the community at all levels, from small shopkeepers to investors, to donate what they could to help build a well. One by one, they gave money ranging from a few hundred to a thousand CFA, and this started a wildfire....

As news spread across the community, donations became huge...! Some people even donated things in kind such as bags of cement and professional advice. People outside the community with loving hearts even began to invest as well, in solidarity with our community.

'No name went unnoticed'
'No name went unnoticed'

In the end, there was not only enough to build a well but a fully functional mechanical water pump! Even the students volunteered to build it with the team!

Today, there is a water pump for over 1,000 students and on its walls are written the names of everyone who helped. No name went unnoticed! Currently, the community is raising money to maintain the pump and treat the water.

In our school, in addition to promote hand-washing and hydration, each class has purchased their own 20-liter containers for water and elected a WASH leader.

Truly, it takes a community to raise a project.

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