Indirect Resource Enhancement: Improved Domestic Water Supply

HandPumpAnother means of indirectly enhancing the resources available to smallholder families for managing their lands would be to improve access to the domestic water supply that will reduce the time people, mostly women, have to spend just to get the minimum WHO 50 l/person/day. While many projects currently address improved domestic water supply, it is mostly done to improve public health and reduce the incidents of sanitary diseases such as dysentery, typhoid and even cholera. These are definitely important considerations. However, in addition to saving lives and reducing the down time from sanitation diseases, there is usually a labor saving component. Just as the reduction in women’s domestic drudgery through access to Grain Mills can result in more time to crop husbandry, the reduction of time spent securing essential water supply can also be used for improved crop or animal husbandry enhancing yields or the quality of quality sensitive high valued crops as part of value chain promotions. Ultimately this will enhance the overall economic well being of both individual families and the community TurbidSpringWebas a whole. It was estimated that in Parts of Uganda where the water table was up to 100 m below the surface, it was taking women up to 20% of total daylight hours just to procure the minimum WHO recommended 50 lit/person of water. This would involved over one kilometer trek including descending 100 m, filling a jerry can with water from a slightly turbid spring (photo right) before returning home ascending the same 100 meter but now carrying a full 20 lit jerry can of water. Thus UNICEF, Engineers Without Borders, Save the Children, and other organizations involved in promoting improved domestic water supplies for smallholder communities with hand pumps like the one in the photo, might take a little time to determine just how much time they are saving the women in the community, and what the women are doing with the extra time in terms of enhancing their and their family economic well being. Again this could make an good Peace Corps Master professional paper or potentially a thesis.

Last Revised: 15 Mar 2010.

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