Water Collective is an international nonprofit that secures life-lasting clean water for rural communities in Africa and India. The organization was founded in 2011 to resolve the shortcomings of clean water access in the developing world, where 40% of water points are not working at any given time.
20-70% of installed handpumps in Sub-Saharan Africa are no longer functioning. In the estimated 1-4 billion people without safe drinking water, millions more have been stripped of a water source they used to have. In Africa alone it is estimated that in the past 20 years, 70 million people have lost access to safe water due to a failed source.
After years in the field observing broken handpumps and abandoned solutions, Water Collective was developed to approach the water crisis from a different angle. We believe that focusing on making water life-lasting triumphs over rapid expansion with temporary solutions. We believe in long-term strategies that integrate life-cycle costs and collaborate with existing community collectives. We believe that a supportive economy and knowledgeable community are the keys that keep clean water flowing. Above all, we believe in empowerment before giving, requiring benefitting communities to co-finance their water projects so that they are involved in building their own futures.
HOW WE WORK
WATER ACCESS THAT LASTS
Whether we’re helping a community build a water source, or fix a broken one, we seek out the most sustainable and long-term options. We use local tools, supplies, engineers, and labor to empower and support community involvement. Water systems we utilize range from catchment systems with tap stands to handpumps.
Many of the communities we work with are in isolated areas far away from a Google search on how to fix a broken well, or what to do with a leaky pipe. We provide maintenance education & training for our partnered communities so that a foundation for water security exists, and longevity is supported. Through our Water Independence program, our partnered communities are taught to manage the ecosystem around their water system like a fine-tuned business.
Communities are trained in life-cycle costing, risk management, and troubleshooting their water systems through different scenarios so that they can manage their systems long after a host organization like Water Collective is gone. In addition to rigorous training, our partnered communities are tested and rated on their performance in keeping their water systems operational, up to 3 years after a water system in their community has been installed. By promoting knowledge retention and continued learning through testing and in-person guidance, we not only promote the birth of Water Independent communities, but a network of community support where failure isn’t possible.