26 May 2008

WaterAid

In response to my post on 1,000 Wells, Noumenon says
I donate about 10% of my income to WaterAid because it's one of the few ways to give for water and sanitation (governments control water supply in most places). So maybe you know something about their effectiveness, how they compare to other charities, whether they have strayed from their British water-engineer roots to be more of a typical NGO.
I had not heard about WaterAid, but I took a look at their website. It's immediately obvious that they know what they are doing -- perhaps because they have been in operation since 1981!

Most important to me are their policies and statements on community involvement, where they clearly identify the community's leading role in designing and managing the water project in a way that reflects the community's needs.*

Bottom Line: Thumbs up on WaterAid -- they build the project that the locals want and help the locals design the institutional rules (including charging for water!) that will keep those projects viable. People in the aid business (e.g., Sachs) should pay more attention to such bottom-up projects.

* I was talking to someone recently who mentioned the reaction of men to the installation of a pump in the village that made it much easier for the women to fetch water. Instead of leaving for a one-hour walk, they only needed to cross the village to get water. The men were very pleased with the pump because "before, we had to take care of the children that the women could not take with them. They were so noisy that we could not talk, rest or play our card games. Now that the pump is in the village, we do not have to bother with these children. The pump is a true salvation for us men." :)

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate this post because it is difficult to find out about which charities are the most effective in terms of welfare.

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