Sunday, February 8, 2009

Capacity-Building and Water Infrastructure Project in L

My mom said she was interested in hearing about my water project, so here is the grant that i had to write for Peace Corps. i think it explains the project pretty well.

A. Brief Summary
• The water association of L is currently responsible for drinking water in the community. However, it lacks both the infrastructure and capacity in order to ensure the quality of the water. Therefore, there are two aspects of the project. First is the training and capacity building of members of the water association. Second is the actual infrastructure project. In L, there are currently water fountains connected to a chateau. However, the chateau is empty because there is no nearby viable source to fill it. The project, therefore, is to use water from spring some 5 km away to fill the chateau. A spring capture needs to be built, along with pipes connecting the spring and the chateau. Since the spring is far away, the majority of the cost of the project will go towards the construction of the pipes.
• In doing my initial assessment of the community, this project was one of the first things that came up. Every step of the way, someone from the community member has been instrumental in furthering the project. Now that the project appears to be imminent, the community has promised both financial and labor support. There is already a water association established that will ensure the upkeep of the infrastructure once the project is completed.

• The region is primarily an agricultural community. Wheat is the primary crop, although barley, corn, potatoes and some vegetables are also grown. Donkeys and mules are critical to agricultural production. Most families own cows, chickens, and turkeys for milk, eggs, and meat. However, nearly all agricultural production is sustenance farming – little produce is sold outside of the community. Herding sheep and goats is the primary source of income for the community. Flocks range in size from 5 to hundreds of animals. Men often spend several weeks at a time in the mountains, tending their flocks. Tourism and artisan work bring in a modest amount of money to select community members. A few community members work at the Commune. Other work by community members is mostly done outside of the community: construction work in bigger cities, conscription in the military, etc. Students that continue their education in the college in Tounfite often fail out because they are poorly prepared.
L is a small community in the A Commune. It is extremely isolated, particularly in the winter. The road is poorly constructed and often damaged or closed completely by inclement weather. L is a farming community that grows primarily wheat, potatoes, and turnips for their own consumption. Many families also have herds of sheep and other farm animals to supplement their diets and income. There are approximately 100 families in L and about 800 people (50-60% women). There are approximately 200 youth in the community.
The water association of L was created to manage water resources in the community. In an agricultural community, water rights for fields have been their primary responsibility. This involves a lot of conflict resolution and managing of the community. Additionally, they have been responsible for the upkeep and improvement of several drinking sources around town. The water association is made up of seven men. The president, Sidi Khaja, has the most responsibility and power in the group. He is also the mulsheikh of the village, so he is a prominent member of the community. This activity is the biggest one that the association has taken on, but they have so far received good training, and will continue to receive training to improve their capacity. The A Commune is also taking responsibility for the project. A governmental group, they are well established and have done similar projects before, most notably a spring capture project in the nearby community of Ait Bouarbi. The Secretary-General of the Commune has the most responsibility in terms of organizing projects. The President of the Commune makes final decisions in terms of finance and support. A Commune Technician provides the technical support for infrastructure projects. Given that the Commune has already completed a similar project before, I believe they have the capacity to manage this project in conjunction with the water association. Furthermore, assisting in this project and increasing their capacity increases the likelihood of similar projects being done in other communities within the Commune.
• The need as identified by the PCV and the community is the inability of the water association to supply its community with clean, running water. Currently, most people collect their water from nearby wells and streams. The nurse at the local health clinic believes that water sanitation is a public health risk, leading to diarrhea. Additionally, the collection of water is task that demands a lot of time from women and young children.

• The goal of this project is to build the capacity of both the A Commune and the water association in L. Specifically, it is to improve their ability to provide their communities with clean, running water. L is a very isolated community; anything that can be done to improve its self-sufficiency will be helpful.
• Measuring the capacity of the water association will be difficult to do, however there are some indicators that will be helpful in assessing the success of the project. One intermediate objective is to reduce the incidence of water borne illnesses. If the association is doing its job of treating the water, the local health clinic will see a reduction in such diseases. The nurse will be responsible for tracking and monitoring this trend. Another intermediate objective will be to reduce the time spent by women and children collecting water. If the system is maintained, public fountains will allow women and children to access water much more easily. It will be impossible to accurately measure the amount of time spent gathering water, but the frequency of people at other sources of water should be a good indicator of the success of the new system.
• The most direct beneficiaries of the project will be the president and other members of the water association. Hopefully, they will gain the skills and knowledge necessary to ensure the provision of clean water to their community. Furthermore, they will have received extensive training in the planning and implementation of a large project. The Secretary-General of the Commune has also benefited from the project. He has assisted in searching for finance of the project and generally in the overall management of the project. Indirect beneficiaries include the entire community, which will benefit from improved water. Women and children will benefit greatly, as they are the primary gatherers of water.
• In terms of capacity, the project will build upon the water association’s current skills in dealing with water issues in the community. They already work with drinking water; this project will just increase and centralize the scope of their responsibility. In terms of infrastructure, the project is utilizing existing infrastructure (water tower, pipes, public fountains) to complete the objective of providing clean water to the community. These infrastructure assets currently sit unused as there is no water in the water tower.

• Action Plan
1. Identify need, June and July 2008. PCV, local moqadem, association members, local nurse.
2. Discuss project and funding with Commune officials August 2008-present. PCV, President of Commune, President of water association, Secretary-General of Commune.
3. Analyze the content of the water, August 2008. Secretary-General of Commune, President of water association.
4. Prepare estimate for project, October 2008. PCV, Secretary-General of Commune, Commune Technician.
5. Visit nearby project for exchange of ideas, October 2008. PCV, President of water association.
6. Discuss labor needs of project, November 2008-present. PCV, members of water association, community members.
7. Seek funding sources, November 2008-present, PCV, Secretary-General of Commune, President of Commune, President of water association.
8. Further exchange of ideas between community members and nearby community, now at site of project, February 2009. PCV, members of water association.
9. Acquiring materials March/April 2009. This will be done in Tounfite and Boumia, two nearby towns. Commune will help with transport. PCV, community members, Commune Technician.
10. Construction of infrastructure March/April 2009-May 2009. PCV, Commune Technician, Secretary-General of the Commune, members of water association, community members.
11. Capacity building workshop for upkeep of infrastructure, May 2009. The Commune Technician will be largely responsible for informing community members on how to maintain the infrastructure. Training will take place in the house of the President of the water association. He will provide food. PCV, Commune Technician, members of water association.
12. Capacity building workshop for treatment of water, May 2009. The training will be held in the President of the water association’s house. PCV and nurse will explain the importance of water treatment the means of measuring the necessary quantity of bleach. Secretary-General of Commune and President of water association will make plan for transporting bleach from Commune seat (A) to site (L). PCV, local nurse, Secretary-General of the Commune, members of water association.
13. Review of project, June 2009. PCV, President of Commune, Secretary-General of Commune, President of water association.
• Oversight of the project will be the responsibility of the PCV, the President of the water association and the Secretary-General of the Commune, particularly in regards to arranging trainings and ensuring the timeliness of the project. The President of the water association and the Commune Technician will take a great deal of responsibility for the actual construction of the infrastructure.
• The greatest potential recurring cost of the project is upkeep of the infrastructure. The materials we are using are sturdy, but inevitably something will go wrong, requiring community investment. Having spoken with community members, I am confident that they will take responsibility for upkeep. Furthermore, community members are investing a great deal in the construction of the project; therefore I believe they will see to its maintenance. A second recurring cost of the project is the supply of bleach to treat the water. Ensuring a regular supply of bleach will require some effort from a community member. In the long-term, the upkeep and success of this project is bound to the willingness of the water association to care for it. I have seen the lengths that these men have gone to already to plan for the project so I am hopeful that their enthusiasm will continue.
• Weather is the biggest potential obstacle for this project. The mountainous Commune of A is prone to big storms. Given the distance from the site to the spring (5km), inclement weather could make construction difficult. The road to and from the site is sometimes temporarily cut, which could delay the project. Other smaller obstacles include variables that are difficult to control. The fluctuating exchange rate makes it difficult to estimate how many dollars I need to raise in order to have the necessary amount of dirhams. Although labor for the project has been promised, it’s always possible that the demanding work of a farmer will draw the laborers attention away from the project. However, the project has been scheduled to coincide with a time of little work in the fields. Finally, in such a complex project relying upon so many different inputs, there are many unknowns that can impede the progress of the project.

• The community will be contributing labor, finance, and expertise. The cost of labor for the project has been estimated at $1,000. The local water association will be organizing the construction of the infrastructure and providing labor. The A Commune will be contributing approximately 260,000 Dhs (of 312,000). And a technician from the Commune will be providing technical expertise.
• There is no question that the project is expensive, however the payoff is tremendous. I have taken the estimate for the project to several different material suppliers, and I have yet to find lower prices than the ones quoted for me by the Commune.
• American NGOs will be contributing approximately $3,030.
• Please note that SPA money will not be physically used to purchase one portion of the project. The money will be pooled and all the materials will be bought together. I can provide receipts for each individual item in addition to the items nominally paid by SPA. The majority of the cost of the project is in the piping that will transport the water from the source to the water tower. SPA will be funding a portion of that piping. A meter of piping is estimated at 40 Dhs. SPA money ($3,500 * 8Dhs/dollar = 28,000 Dhs) will buy 700 units of piping. The piping is expensive polyethylene. I feel that this investment is justified and necessary to ensure the long term survival of the infrastructure.
• Total cost of the project is 312,240 Dhs ($39,030). The $3,500 from SPA will be approximately 9% of the cost. The Commune will be providing approximately 260,000 Dhs ($32,500) or 83%. American NGOs will be responsible for the final $3,030, or approximately 8%.

• In terms of training of community members, the PCV, the local nurse, and the Secretary-General will be responsible for monitoring the activity. They will ensure that trainings are held as scheduled. In terms of infrastructure, the PCV, Secretary-General, and President of the water association will be responsible for overseeing the activity. Members of the Commune will accompany the PCV to construction site to ensure timely completion of project. The timeline provided in the action plan above will be the indicators used to determine the progress of the activity. Since the objectives of the activity, as listed above, will not be measurable until the full completion of the project, I feel they are better tracked in the evaluation plan.
• As noted in the goals and objectives above, the primary indicators of success will be reduction water borne illnesses and reduction of time spent gathering water. The local nurse currently tracks the incidence of water borne illnesses, so it will be easy for him to compare the current statistics to those following the completion of the project. Together with the PCV, this will be done on a monthly basis to ensure that the project has continuing success. Measuring time spent collecting water will be more difficult to do. The PCV and the President of the water association will conduct surveys with different households in the month following the project in order to measure the community’s satisfaction with the project. Finally, in a separate evaluation, the PCV, the Secretary-General of the Commune, and the President of the water association will conduct a formal evaluation upon the completion of the project. The activity’s progress will be compared the plans made prior to the project (as listed in action plan above) to evaluate the objectives set and whether or not they were met. Particularly important to this meeting will be measuring the President of the water association’s understanding of the upkeep of the infrastructure and treatment of the water.
• The most important continuing activity is the preservation of the infrastructure and the treatment of water. In terms of water treatment, this is going to require a member of the water association to regularly obtain bleach and deliver it to the water tower. In the long-term, this is the responsibility of the water association. Hopefully, trainings will impress upon the association the importance of these activities and provide them with the necessary tools to ensure their success. Doing this project could also lead to similar projects being done in nearby communities. I believe that by building the capacity of the Commune as this project progresses, the likelihood of the Commune doing other projects have grown.


maryellen said...

hey, buddy, thanks for the post. i forwarded it to gary b/c of his interest in water's great being able to visualize where you are working...

bharatbook said...

Your content really informative as well as helpful for my Water Infrastructure Projects in Middle East and Africa Research and Development.