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Togo Charity Works to Help Rural Villages Out of PovertyTogo has struggled to lift its citizens, especially those in rural areas, out of poverty and to ensure adequate access to necessities such as sanitation and drinking water.

A report by the International Monetary Fund found that in 2011, the percent of the rural population that lived below the poverty line was 73.4 percent. In urban areas, the rate was 44.7 percent.

Water Sanitation and Access to Clean Water

Specifically in regards to water sanitation and drinking water, work has been done by various organizations to improve access to these necessities, and as a result, help rural villages out of poverty.

The Water Governance Facility (WGF), backed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), stated on its website that in 2015, 63 percent of Togo’s urban population had access to drinkable water, while in rural areas only 44 percent had access. The same report found that only 11 percent of Togo’s population benefited from water sanitation facilities.

These statistics were reported as part of a larger program called Governance, Advocacy and Leadership in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene that was implemented by the WGF in conjunction with the UNDP from 2014 to 2017.

The Power of Local Aid Groups

However, assistance has also come from organizations closer to home, which strive to help rural villages out of poverty and address its accompanying effects.

Recently, the Togo charity Christian Charity for People in Distress (CCPD) was awarded the Kyoto World Water Grand Prize for the work it has done to help a village of 290 people improve its water sanitation.

CCPD is based in Kpalimé, Togo and was created in April 2004 as a nonprofit Christian charity. The organization’s mission statement declares that its goal is to help rural villages out of poverty by further developing water access, sanitation and hygiene, as well as improving agricultural development, the environment and education.

On its website, CCPD lists four main objectives it seeks to accomplish through its charity work:

  • Protecting the rights of women and children.
  • Assisting the rural population of Togo in obtaining decent education and healthcare, and providing access to drinking water and sanitation.
  • Helping to economically develop rural areas by working alongside farmers to generate more income.
  • Facilitating food self-sufficiency in rural areas of Togo.

Making a Difference

Since 2006, CCPD’s water, sanitation and hygiene programs have aided more than 6,000 people. These programs usually involve the construction of wells, latrines and ECOSAN toilets, which is a waterless toilet designed to save water in countries that do not have water security. In addition, CCPD has worked to help rural villages out of poverty by providing school supplies to primary and secondary school students, aided in the construction of new schools and improved computer skills in adults and children.

The charity is the second African organization to win the Kyoto World Water Grand Prize, which will not only improve sanitation and water conditions, but will also decrease deaths related to illnesses such as cholera that are caused by poor sanitation.

CCPD has been aiding impoverished, rural areas of Togo since its creation, and does far more than just water and sanitation work. The charity’s efforts in regards to education, agricultural development, business development and environmental protection have all impacted communities in Togo and given them the help they need to transition out of poverty.

– Jennifer Jones

Water Quality in Tonga

Situated in the Pacific Islands, Tonga is among one of several countries in the region to experience water scarcity and quality issues. An island chain of more than 170, Tonga is limited in access to freshwater resources, much of which is sourced directly from groundwater. In addition to groundwater and springs, Tongans collect water from surface resources, which on most islands is extremely difficult to come by. A few different issues are the culprit for scarcity, and subsequently, water quality in Tonga.

One of the primary concerns is the overuse and exploitation of water on larger islands. Tongatapu, one of the most densely populated islands in Tonga, accounts for 69 percent of the total population. Its water consumption rates are continually on the rise.

In addition to poor water use practice, Tonga also experiences poor management with wastewater. All of the wastewater is managed individually rather than through a unified system. The wastewater then becomes the burden of the community: with little to no help from the government, issues with quality and sanitation are unavoidable.

Tonga also lacks water management infrastructure. Water resource use and sanitation center data is currently not nationally exchanged through an organized sharing system, making it difficult to regulate and monitor.

Because there are limited resources to ameliorate these issues, supervision of water quality in Tonga has been taken over by its residents with some supplemental assistance from the Tongan government and the World Health Organization.

In an effort to provide risk assessment and management for villages experiencing poor water conditions, the government has administered a Water Safety Plan. This plan is designed to pay specific attention to the causes of contamination of water supplies. It also considers which measures must be taken to reduce these risks and make improvements to existing water systems.

Communities are urged to take part in these action plans to learn more about their individual water resource systems and identify with the ecosystem that supports them.

In 2009, 10 villages were set up to take part in the Water Safety Plans, and eight more have been added since. The World Health Organization is working to provide training support for the Tongan government to implement the plan further.

Water quality in Tonga is also being tackled by using methods of public outreach and education. The Tonga Trust developed the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program in 2008, which works toward changing behaviors of residents and visitors to be more mindful of water use and hygienic practice.

Expected outcomes are for villages to identify their Water Safety Plans, increase the frequency of WASH’s message through media outlets, create posters and manuals in the local language promoting sanitation, establish WASH committees throughout the islands and increase stakeholder involvement.

Casey Hess

Photo: Flickr

Good News in Global HealthCholera impacts 2.9 million people each year, killing about 95,000 in some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities of many Asian, African, and some Caribbean countries. The good news in global health is that the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) is bringing together more than 50 partners from academic institutions and nonprofits to reduce cholera by 90 percent by 2030.

This alliance includes The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization, Water Aid and Doctors Without Borders. This plan was released to the public in October 2017 in Geneva.

GTFCC is hosted by the World Health Organization and has begun with a strategy called Ending Cholera: A Global Roadmap to 2030. This proposal has three strategic axes to make this goal possible.

First, the GTFCC would work to look for early signs of cholera and by sending a quick response in efforts to halt the spread of the disease. Country-level planning would also go into effect for early detection and response.

Second, these partners would improve the Water Sanitation and Hygiene concept, or WASH. The U.N. recognizes WASH as a basic human right. However, more than two billion people worldwide lack access to WASH.

Improving oral vaccines would also be a part of the second plan to end cholera. Between 2013 and 2016, the GTFCC administered five million doses of the cholera vaccine. Gavi is an international vaccination organization focused on children, and it is funding these vaccines.

Lastly, this strategy will be an effective system of coordination for technical support, resource mobilization and partnership at local and global levels. It will work to strengthen donors and international agencies, while locally, partnerships with be strengthened between affected countries.

While this plan will be carried out by all the NGOs and academic institutions, the Global Task Force on Cholera Control will be providing a strong framework for support to ensure this roadmap to ending cholera deaths by 2030 is executed in a timely manner, which is good news in global health.

Lorial Roballo