Community Development gets a lot of different definitions, the blog title gives you mine. Together with my family, living in central Asia, I work with a NGO in a CD project that works toward objectives of improving water, sanitation, hygiene, infant and maternal health, and agriculture for poor communities. I am not an expert in any of these fields, I'm the guy that trains and supports the national leaders and facilitators of the project, and makes sure that we are actually facilitating change
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Stories from our projects
Today I'm going to share 3 stories that our local staff have gathered from the communities in the past couple months. I have had a very minimal, indirect involvement with these projects, so it was neat for me to read them and know that without foreigner input, the local staff are taking this programme forward. I have left them just the way they wrote them, translated by our administrator. Hope you enjoy.
Sakina’s clean latrine
“After I went to the hygiene course given by the CDP ladies team I am trying to make a lot of improvements in our hygiene, cleanliness of the household and our latrine.We are now able to keep our home a lot cleaner and use the latrine properly.After going to the latrine, we are washing our hands with soap and water, and we have made a cover for the latrine hole to prevent germs.And I have stopped the children going to the toilet outside in the yard.We have put fly screen up in our windows because we have learned about the way flies pass on diseases.
Our 4 children were always suffering with diarrhoea, and we were spending money all the time on visits to the doctor, medicines. But now, by the grace of God, none of us has trouble with diarrhoea, and we are saving the money we used to spend at the doctor’s. We are very happy that I went to the course, and learned all this.”
Gulabza’s Biosand filter
“My daughter Zeba is 17 years old, studying 10th grade at the Girls’ High School in the village.There never used to be any clean water available in our village, there weren’t even any wells.Our family, like everyone else in the village, used to use water straight from the reservoir.The two wells that were dug in the village were salty and bitter, so no one would drink from them.My daughter suffered from stomach ache and kidney problems since she was small.She couldn’t do her lessons properly because of the illness.All the doctors in the city said she had kidney and bladder stones, and needed operations.My husband died several years ago, and the money which I worked for was going on doctors and medicines.
When the ladies from CDP started a hygiene course I was part of it, and I learned a lot of good things on the course.The most valuable thing was using a filter to get clean water.My family is now benefiting from clean filtered water, because they have learned to use and look after the filter properly too.Since she started drinking filtered water, my daughter’s kidney problems have improved day by day.It is about 4 months since she needed to go to a doctor or take medicine.I am so thankful that God sent you to do this work, it has made such a difference to her health, and I pray that you will keep doing this for a long time.”
Deadly reservoir changed forever
“A young man Subghatullah, 18 years old in a nearby village used to operate a hand cart ‘karachi’ with his father for their living.One day he went to the reservoir by the mosque to fetch a few jerry cans of water.After a few hours his mother realised he had not come home yet, so she went out to look for him.When she got to the reservoir all she could see were the jerry cans on the bank – there was no sign of her son.She told everyone in the village that her son had gone out to get water and disappeared.My first thought was that he’d fallen in the water – so I called a group of young men together and told them to jump in the reservoir and look for Subghatullah.That is what they did, and they found his body in the water.That is not the first time this has happened – I’ve been alive for 85 years and I’ve seen it happen quite a few times.A few days later we had a general meeting of the village council to work out what we could do about this – but they couldn’t really think of any good ideas.
Luckily for us, a guy called Usta Mohammad Hashem who had worked in a neighbouring country for several years came up with an idea.Look, he said, this reservoir is a little bit higher up than the rest of the village – how about we ask some agency to help us put a pipe in to bring the water out at street level.And then we should put a fence around the reservoir to stop people getting water from it and falling in.And if we stop stepping in and out of the reservoir the water stay cleaner too. Everyone though this was a great idea, and we got some money together between ourselves.Then we went to ask the NGO to help us, as they had started doing other clean water projects around our neighbourhood.They agreed to give us the things we were short of - cement, pipes and the fence.We started the work as soon as we could, and now it is finished – the water coming from the taps is much cleaner than any other reservoir water around here.As one of the senior whitebeards of the community, I would like to thank the NGO on behalf of all of us, men, women and children, for working with us to finish this project, with the help of God.”