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Water Testing Programmes in Rural Madagascar with
the DelAgua Water Testing Kit
SEED Madagascar (Sustainable Environment, Education & Development in Madagascar) is a British registered charity founded in 2000. Operating in the south-east of Madagascar, they manage a wide range of sustainable development and conservation projects within the town of Fort Dauphin, as well as with numerous rural communities across the Anosy region. Alongside this, they aim to raise global awareness of Madagascar’s unique needs and build constructive partnerships to aid development.
Project Fatsaka – A Well Management & Maintenance Training Programme
Nearly three-quarters of Madagascar’s 22 million people live in rural areas, yet just 35% have access to improved water sources. In the remote Anosy Region, a lack of drinking water and poor hygiene perpetuate disease and malnutrition. Financial limitations and a lack of understanding between water and health means that wells that need maintenance are often abandoned.
Project Fatsaka is a community capacity building well management and maintenance programme that aims to empower rural communities so that they may self sufficiently maintain wells and retain long-term access to safe drinking water.
During the pilot phase, 15 communities across the Mahatalky Rural Commune were encouraged to take ownership of their wells. Through the innovative application of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), communities were motivated to use their protected water sources and recognise the health implications of poor drinking water, sanitation and hygiene practices.
Communities were subsequently supported to establish well committees and to draw up financial and action plans. With activities resulting in 13 highly
motivated communities, SEED built the local capacity to carry out essential well repairs and supported communities to establish sustainable management and
During this programme, the DelAgua Water Testing Kit has been used to see if rural community wells are contaminated. Community action plans are developed accordingly alongside the communities and highly contaminated wells will undergo shock chlorination.
During the training programme, community members are taught about the consequences of faecal bacteria being present in their water source and how to treat the water to make it safe for drinking.
Having successfully trialled this innovative method in a first phase, SEED has expanded Project Fatsaka to bring a long-term supply of an improved water source
to a further 15 communities, helping an estimated 10,072 people achieve their human right to safe water.
Project Tatirano – Improving Access to Clean Drinking Water via Rainwater Harvesting
Rainwater has been collected for millennia across the globe, and whilst rainfall in the south eastern Anosy region of Madagascar is relatively high, rainwater harvesting is not widely practiced. A simple technique that can provide high volumes of clean water, rainwater harvesting has the potential to greatly impact the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Apart from the substantial health benefits of accessing clean water, when rainwater harvesting is practiced at the household level the technique eliminates the opportunity costs associated with water collection, allowing more time for educational, social and entrepreneurial activities.
In Phase 1, Tatirano – meaning “to collect water” in Malagasy – installed a rainwater harvesting system with a 20,000 litre capacity on the primary school roof
in Ambandrika, Sainte Luce. By establishing and building the capacity of the community-elected Tatirano Management Committee, Tatirano has both ensured the sustainability of the school’s system and taken the first steps towards Sainte Luce becoming a regional exemplar of the technique.
The DelAgua Water Testing Kit is used within the programme to ensure the safety of the water. The water collection system provides for 144 school children every school day and 750 members of the community up to four times a week, dependent on supply and functionality of the committee.
Phase 2 aims to promote rainwater harvesting at the household level across seven communities in the Mahatalaky Commune. Families are requested to pay 160,000 Ar (GBP 40.00) payable over six months. This loan mechanism is interest free and collateral is not required. The fact that families are paying up to 69% of the cost of the systems, excluding installation and transport costs, means that the project could act as a stepping stone towards a sustainable business in the future as there is potential for an actor to make money from the scheme.
Families already enrolled have reported benefits including more time to create marketable goods; more time spent caring for young children; savings from not paying expensive water collectors; and physical health benefits from not carrying heavy water loads for long periods of time.
The team seeks to increase sign up across the target communities to reach more people with the benefits that rainwater harvesting provides.
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