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Report from the Kahororo, Congo project - Two years in background

Report from the Kahororo, Congo project - Two years in background

He chose the village of Kahororo, in a low-lying area halfway between Uvira, Congo, and Bujumbura, Burundi. It is a Batwa/Pygmy village – really a reservation. The Batwa/Pygmy people are a highly oppressed minority, rather like American Indians, making up less than 1% of the total population, who were once forest dwellers and hunters, but now gathered into small areas of mostly non-arable land.

Kahororo is surrounded by water and marshes. There was no school, no health clinic, no road, no significant buildings of any kind. Unemployment is essentially 100%. The people remember only a single outside intervention in their past, when United Nations troops passed through in 2004, raped some of the women, and gave them HIV. Life expectancy is under 35, and more than half of the children died before the age of five, almost all the result of waterborne illnesses.

The Intervention

With the funds received, Friendly Water for the World provided two steel molds and a toolkit under our long-term loan agreement for use in producing BioSand Filters, and enough materials to build the first 30-35 Filters. Eliphaz trained a group of 16 women and 14 men for six days in fabricating, distributing, installing, and maintaining the Filters, as well as providing training in community sanitation and hygiene.

In 38 days, 31 BioSand Filters were built and installed. A formal BioSand group was formed, and leader elected. More materials were requested and provided, so that Filters could also be sold outside of the community. Over the next six months, 85 BioSand Filters were build and installed in Kahororo.

Results

Major improvements in health were seen within three weeks. Over the course of the next year, under-five child mortality was reduced by more than 90%, from as many as one child death every three days, to as few as one every six months. Longevity increased among adults as well. A school was started. The group began selling Filters to surrounding communities.

A World Bank committee charged with improving the conditions of Batwa/Pygmy people heard about the “miracle of Kahororo” and visited Kahororo in January 2015. The residents told them they wanted to spread the work to other Batwa/Pygmy communities.

One person trained – Konka Shindano – became a BioSand technician. In September 2015, at Friendly Water for the World’s request, he traveled almost 500 miles away, to Beni and Butembo in the far northeastern corner of the Congo to train other Batwa/Pygmy communities. He had never traveled more than 15 miles away from Kahororo before. It turned out he spoke the same languages (Kimpute/Killesse), and the fact that he could teach technical skills was seen as extraordinary. His presence and expertise was much sought-after by village leaders and the length of his trip had to be doubled. He is likely to return there to assist with future trainings in 2016.

Kahororo village leader Anania Shigira says, "Water is Life, and is a fundamental life. As one of the fundamental rights, life can now be returned to my community and my people are revitalized because we now have access to clean water through BioSand Water Filters. Thank you! We note that the sustained action of Friendly Water for the World is the first intervention toward the development of Kahororo since the world began. We were yesterday forgotten, discriminated against, and marginalized, but today we now have become proud and worthy thanks to the BioSand Filter program."

Please help us extend the miracle of Kahororo to other communities through your contributions large and small.  And please share this post with your friends

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