Water access improves children’s lives in Laos
ChildFund in Laos is working with local partners in three rural villages to make sure that children and their families can access clean, safe water for the health and wellbeing of people in the area.
Chong Song is a leader in Phoupied Village, one of the villages taking part in the Sustainable Change Achieved through Linking Improved Nutrition and Governance (SCALING) project. In total, there are three villages in the project.
Song shared that it is was difficult for families to access clean water. “In the past, we faced frequent water shortages. People couldn’t access water equally either. Those who live near the reservoir were always using too much water for themselves and not leaving enough for those who live far away.”
Phoupied has a population of three hundred people. In the households, children were often responsible for making the long trip to the river to fetch water for their families. This means the children have less time to play, homework and family life as they spend more of their time sourcing clean water.
Most members of the community are farmers and access to water is vital for their livelihoods. ChildFund in Laos worked with local partners to come up with a way for water to be more accessible. The initiative was funded by the European Union.
Members of the community enthusiastically helped build a gravity-fed water system where water is collected from a nearby river, gets filtered and is collected in a water tank. They volunteered their time, labour and materials to build the system.
A plumbing system was also built so that each house had a tap connected to the water tank for instant access to clean water in their homes.
Because of the water supply system, children and families in the community can now access clean and safe water at any time of day. This increases their health and hygiene practices and helps prevent them from getting sick. Children also have a lot more time now to dedicate towards their education and social activities.
“Not only was the water supply system constructed but a water meter has been installed in each household as well that lets them monitor their water usage. The more you use, the more you must pay for a bill. This system made people think before using water,” said Song.
The income generated by the water charge will be used to maintain the water supply system and ensure sustainability.
“I will continue monitoring and maintaining the water supply system. This is not only for me, but it will be beneficial for the people in my community and so our future generations can access water,” added Song.