In DRC, water is truly life. Without access to water there is no hope for development. education, health, or economic empowerment. Programs in vulnerable communities rely on access to safe water. Children who are looking for water all day will miss school. Children who drink unsafe water will be sick, and unable to perform well in school. Workers who are sick from waterborne diseases will not be productive. The future of a nation depends on its people’s ability to have access to clean water. Mwangaza International’s Living Water Program exists to be a catalyst for holistic development by providing not only physical, but most importantly, living water to those who are thirsty. Our Living Water programs objectives are: obtaining water, water purification and education.
Our wells currently provide water to 5,000 people in communities in the DRC. They are a key element in our Hope Centers or other strategic location to reduce the distance between people and water. Most children in vulnerable communities walk an average of 10 miles round trip to find water, exposing them to many types of danger and making it impossible for them to attend school. Each well dug is a transformed community. The average cost of installing a well is $15,000. This figure varies depending on how deep the borehole needs to go, cost and availability of equipment and workers, how long the project takes to complete (rainy season and civil unrest often extend construction time indefinitely) and many other factors. Our wells are either manual or have electric pumps.
Mwangaza works with an organization in Indiana called New Life International to provide water purification systems. We obtain these systems and transport them to the DRC where we have in-country teams trained to properly install and maintain them. We also train SWAT teams (Safe Water Action Teams) who are able to use portable versions of these purification systems to provide safe water in disaster situations such as cholera epidemics or civil unrest. Each purification system costs approximately $2,484 to install. It cost $150/month to maintain a SWAT team to provide for our communities' needs.
We hold regular seminars in the areas we work in about water collection and prevention of waterborne diseases in vulnerable communities and schools. Preventing waterborne disease is an essential component of our strategy to break the cycle of poverty in vulnerable communities.
Putting a water provision system in place is a lot of work, but the challenge does not end there. We have to make sure we are able to maintain the equipment, as well as provide security both during the construction phase and afterwards as thousands of people flock to these sites for life-giving water. Depending on the depth of the well, it might require an electric pump instead of the manual one. If this is necessary we have to make sure we have provisions for the cost of electricity or fuel to run the generator. Our Living Water fund helps secure funding for these additional and ongoing expenses.