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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Clean water is the beginning of positive, community-driven change

Recently, 1,600 indigenous people living on the Philippine island of Mindanao celebrated the completion of six water systems that will give them access to a reliable source of clean water in their communities. In addition to clean water, people are also receiving sanitation education which will give them the knowledge they need in order to improve their health.

At HOPE International Development Agency, we celebrated as well because the arrival of clean water marks the first step in a journey from poverty to self-sufficiency for indigenous families on Mindanao.

Beyond the abundant supply of clean water that the systems bring to communities, they also act as a catalyst for further positive changes across all aspects of family and community life. The relationships formed during the development and construction of the water systems enable people to partner with each other to transform their lives and communities. The perspectives of community members begin to change when they take action, like building a water system. People begin thinking about what is possible and start working together, as a community, to solve other challenges they face.

Helping people learn how to work together results in communities self-identifying what needs to be addressed and then collaborating to make change happen. Eventually, communities are able to move forward on their own, without having to look for external support of motivation.

The benefits of clean water go well beyond a significant reduction in the incidence of water-borne diseases. Families are able to spend time improving their households, growing more food, and thinking of new ways to thrive, rather than simply survive. Children are able to attend school because they do not have to spend much of their days searching for water.

The results speak for themselves
In a recent survey of community members expressed their opinions on key issues.

65% of people surveyed gather their drinking water from contaminated sources.

100% of people surveyed now access clean water within 25 metres of their homes.

78% of people surveyed were dissatisfied with their water sources due to the long distances from their homes.

100% of people are satisfied with their new water systems because the water is clean and nearby.