How the WAVS School is giving communities access to water

By Jenna Harvey, Director of International Development

Water. We use it every day in a variety of forms: drinking, showering, washing hands, brushing teeth, washing dishes, washing clothes, flushing the toilet, watering plants, cooking, etc. For most of us, all we have to do is turn on the faucet, and we have a seemingly endless supply of clean water. However, for the majority of people in Guinea-Bissau, securing water for any of those tasks is a chore. Before any of those things can be done, they must go to the nearest well, draw their buckets full of water and then carry the heavy buckets back home. Depending on where the nearest working well is, this could be quite a long walk.

A successful repair of a community pump at a local school.

For the third year in a row, WAVS partnered with a Christian organization called WellFound to train students how to repair water pumps and build latrines. The training was held at the WAVS School in December and lasted three weeks. Eight students from the villages surrounding Bula, a town 45 minutes from the WAVS School, attended the training. The mechanics instructor at the WAVS School facilitated the training on building latrines. The top water-pump technician in Guinea-Bissau came from Bissau to teach the water-pump portion of the training.

Students taking apart a pump to diagnose the problem.

Not only did the students get classroom instruction, but they also went out into the surrounding communities and got some hands-on practice, as well. The students were able to fix pumps in high-use areas such as a school, a hospital, and a local mosque. In total, the students repaired nine pumps, which was more than double what they were able to repair last year.

This pump was a bit different than all the other pumps in the area. Here is the professor taking a moment to conduct some on-the-job training.

At the graduation ceremony in late December, the teachers praised the students on the new skills that they had learned, which will allow them to help their communities have consistent access to water. WellFound thanked WAVS for the opportunity to partner together to offer life-changing job skills to the local population. The students were also surprised with news that WellFound had already secured them jobs in their villages so the skills they had learned could be immediately put into action.

Wellfound Graduates

WAVS is excited that because of its partnership with WellFound, entire communities now have closer access to water!