WALTER JAMES

Walter James (SOS Femme en Danger – SOSFED): Walter graduated in 2006 from the University of Minnesota. Following college, he worked on international development in Haiti and Senegal, and studied human rights and international development in Senegal, Costa Rica, and Morocco. Walter first visited Eastern Congo as a 2009 Peace Fellow for The Advocacy Project, where he documented the work of civil society organizations such as SOS Femmes en Danger, Arche d’Alliance, and Tunza Mazingira. The following year, he graduated from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy with a Master’s degree in Public Policy.



SOS FED’s well

01 Sep

On August 15, SOS FED and the community of Mboko inaugurated a brand-new well in the locality of Ichwi. The well, with an attractive AFRIDEV handpump, is part of SOS FED’s risk-reduction campaign in Mboko, cutting down the time it takes for women in the zone to carry water to their homes every day. The inauguration ceremony was attended by local state authorities, traditional tribal authorities, a radio journalist from Uvira, members of the ACTED engineering team that assisted in digging the well, SOS FED Mboko staff, SOS FED beneficiaries, and many other members of the community.

The sector administrator, a small man with a scraggly beard, gave a speech before cutting a ribbon in front of the well. After cutting the ribbon, he sprinkled a bottle of Primus beer around the well, a traditional Congolese blessing. Once the ceremony was completed, the well was immediately swarmed by women seeking to fill buckets, basins, bottles, and jerrycans with fresh, sweet well water.

The local administrator prepares to sprinkle beer on the new well

The local administrator prepares to sprinkle beer on the new well

Having worked on water development in Haiti back in 2007-08, I am very aware of the importance of water as a rallying point for women’s health, women’s rights, and for the general wellbeing of the community. As the splendidly wonderful Charlie Walker explains in her blog, women who rely on a water source closer to their home reduce their risk of being attacked while going to and fro on a daily basis.

AFRIDEV pump

AFRIDEV pump

Important facts about the well:

-The AFRIDEV hand pump is a sturdy piece of equipment, and should be able to sustain a few years of constant use.

-The well is a good distance away from any potential sources of contamination (latrines, mud holes, pig sties, etc.)

-The well is located on “public” land owned by local state authorities, which will avoid capture by private interests.

-The SOS FED center staff in Mboko expressed great satisfaction with the proximity of the well to the center.

Here’s wishing the best of luck to the people of Mboko and their new well!

Women and children crowding around the new well

Women and children crowding around the new well

Posted By WALTER JAMES

Posted Sep 1st, 2011

3 Comments

  • JYJ

    September 1, 2011

     

    Très cool.

  • Saraswati

    September 1, 2011

     

    This is great news. I hope Mboko enjoys their new well and there are fewer rapes because of the shorter and safer commute.

    I wonder if Americans would adopt the ritual of sprinkling beer around a water well!

  • Nik

    September 11, 2011

     

    Dude,

    That is beautiful! Keep up the good work.

    Nik

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