A countdown to change
As Solo’s village prepares for the arrival of safe, clean water – thanks to the incredible support of people like you – Ernest Randriarimalala, Communications Officer for WaterAid Madagascar, explains the changes taking place, and why the process is very much a community affair.
This was my fourth visit to the village and I arrived to find a group of children, including Solo and Ze, waiting for me. I could tell they had something to say – I had never seen them smiling and excited like this before.
As they led me to the future waterpoint, just 15 metres away from their village, I asked myself who was more excited, me or the community. I was so happy to see things happening.
The change is remarkable, and things are starting to look very different here.
Solo and Ze high five at the site of the drilling for the new waterpoint in their village.
The spirit of collaboration
Our intervention has been strengthened by the community’s motivation and collaborative spirit. The whole village is actively taking part in the process, and the drilling site was surrounded by excited children.
Every household is building an improved pit latrine, and the village is scattered with newly dug pits. Some people were preparing and trampling the local mixture of mud for the walls, while others were building the roof. Women, men and children were all joining in.
Solo and one of her brothers, on their way to help build their grandmother’s latrine.
Becoming agents for change
I was impressed to see two men from the village had been involved since the beginning of the process, too. They are the future local technicians, who will be in charge of maintaining the new infrastructure.
Ze’s father, Noël, is one of the two men. He is a very dynamic and enthusiastic man, and I am sure that with him on board our work will be sustainable.
“I am so happy that my family have supported me in my decision to be our local technician,” he told me. “I am happy for Ze and for all of us that soon we’ll have safe water near our house.”
Ze sits with her father as he takes a break from drilling at the new waterpoint.
Razafimahatratra will join Noël as a local technician and caretaker for the village. “I’ve been involved since the beginning to understand the process of water supply and to be able to ensure its sustainability,” he says.
Razafimahatratra and Noël aren’t the only ones learning new skills. Two volunteers from the village, Sederman and Arnaud, have been training with WaterAid to become community agents.
Now they're back in the village, teaching hygiene and sanitation awareness and encouraging everyone to keep up with the positive changes that are happening everywhere.
Sederman and Arnaud have been sharing handwashing and sanitation information with the community.
“Being able to share my knowledge and follow the progress the community is making is something I love to do,” says Arnaud.
A time of huge change
This is a time of huge change for everyone in the village, which explains the enthusiasm, early morning work and collaborative spirit of the entire community.
Soon, they will have safe water – and things will be totally different for everyone.
Photo credit: WaterAid/Ernest Randriarimalala