If it’s broke…FIX IT!
The incredible work of WaterAid was recognized in a NYTimes opinion piece yesterday, part of the rad NYTimes Fixes series, which explores creative solutions to the world’s social problems. Yay, solutions!
According to research cited in the article, there are pumps and wells in many poor communities around the world, including India and Africa, but the pumps have fallen into disrepair and the local communities are not equipped with the technical know-how and resources to fix them.
Photo credit/caption: WaterAid/Marco Betti Shanti Devi and Ram Sakhi fixing a handpump in the Mahoba district of Uttar Pradesh, India.
In comes WaterAid! They developed a comprehensive plan whereby they train local community members to be pump and well mechanics. In addition, WaterAid sets up and secures the infrastructure between communities and the state, who pays for the repairs, so that once WaterAid leaves, the repair process will be self-sustaining.
WaterAid’s efforts are also opening up new career paths for women from the lowest caste in Indian society. The training centers have 27 women working to be mechanics!
While the system surely isn’t without its problems, its great to see groups and communities working to fix what they already have instead of just building more pumps, which is needed, but only part of the solution.