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Voluntering Sustainability Practice

March 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Watch out, the word “sustainability” is about to become more famous in the next few years – if it hasn’t already. It is certainly an aspect that has an ample amount of weight in the building industry. Architects and engineers alike. They talked about it and spent times trying to figure out how to wrap their project with a big blanket of sustainability. This is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, not so much in many volunteering projects especially in developing countries.

Ned Breslin (his Bio) – A CEO of Water For People said this:

Africa, Asia and Latin America have become wastelands for broken water and sanitation infrastructure…

The infrastructure mentioned here is referring to facilities that were built by many volunteers and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organization). The intention to bring water and provide safe sanitation to remote and forgotten communities is nothing but good if not – noble. The problem lies in the poor execution and half-baked procedure.

a small caveat of incentive that comes with this kind of project beside “helping” the communities is that the number of people benefited from the project will be shown on someone elses portfolio. And it will stay there for a number of years. Even when the system finally ceased to operate and the volunteers are long gone, the number in the portfolio lives on.

The longevity and life cycle of the system are often left out for other volunteers in the future to figure out.

The right way to do this as described by Ned, is to incorporate ownership of the system. Which involves the community actually paying for the system in long term. Find out how at the source below after the pictures.

Money can be raised, water pump can be bought, donated and installed. But, to exclude and ignore the capacity that the community itself have to offer, is a sure failure coming at a distant.

Pictures from West Borneo of water infrastructure all out of commisioned