In almost every meeting we have with community leaders, doctors, and nurses in Congo, water issues take preeminence. Sadly, access to clean water remains a major problem. Most of Congo’s common childhood sicknesses could be avoided if children were drinking clean water.
This is a problem that has no simple fix. Though it is possible to improve existing water sources and create new ones so that people have access to clean water, doing this rarely has sustainable outcomes. Pumps break and go un-repaired. Clean water gets contaminated. And, sometimes, people simply prefer their old water sources. This tends to be the case when projects are done for communities, rather than by communities. Our focus is on communities.
As we move into the “water phase” of the Congo Clinic Initiative, we are using an approach that we believe will have a long term impact. Working with local church and community leaders, including medical staff, community groups will be mobilized to discuss their health issues. As action points surface, local leaders will be able to connect communities to technical guidance and, perhaps, supplemental resources.
- equip key clinic communities with water through a holistic, asset-based process that depends primarily on the will of the community;
- funding will be used to supplement communities’ efforts to improve the quality of their water;
- in bigger communities, this may mean drilling for water and installing pumps;
elsewhere, existing water sources will be improved.
Our prayer and desire is for meaningful, long lasting impact, and we are excited about the course that has been chartered towards clean water with our partners in Congo. Please continue to pray for our partners as ideas turn into plans. And thank you to our clinic sponsors who support this partnership!