What Sustainability Means To Us

October 5, 2021

At WellFound, we truly value sustainability; it underpins everything that we do. Many rural communities around the world are reliant on external organisations to survive. This is very dangerous as it leads to a dependence on others, rather than independence. Our goal is for every community we partner with to be self-sufficient and resilient, and we do not stop working with a community until it has achieved that goal.

From day one of partnering with a community, we are conscious that we must take proactive steps to encourage sustainability and independence. This can be done in many different ways, for example by including everyone in the decision-making process from the onset, training local residents with technical skills so that they are not reliant on expensive contractors and developing the skills and knowledge of residents to help them establish micro-saving schemes, allowing communities to take charge of their own development.

We’d like to share some stories from communities in Guinea Bissau who have taken the tools, knowledge and resources given by WellFound, and used them to better their communities and improve residents’ lives.

Ampintcha on the Island of Carache:

The residents of Ampintcha wanted to extend water access to distant houses in the community; these households were needing to walk further to collect their water from the well. Using their newly learned construction skills and community micro-saving scheme, they were able to purchase the raw materials and build an additional water deposit tank. Not only did this allow further-away houses to easily access water, but it also provides further safeguards against water shortages during the dry season, which are becoming more unpredictable in the face of climate change. A wonderful example of communities taking matters into their own hands and making long-lasting improvements by themselves, for themselves.

An upgraded new solar-powered pump connected to a water storage tank funded by the community.

Binte, also on the island of Carache:
After hearing about what the village of Ampintcha had done with the water tank, the community of Binte were encouraged to save for a new solar-powered pump system for their well. Our staff encouraged the community to continue using the micro-saving scheme and start up working towards that common goal. Using income generated from the women-led market gardens and other trainings from WellFound, the community managed to save 500.000cfa (about £650), of which they used 200.000cfa to upgrade their solar-powered pump system, with 300.000cfa cash in their savings for repairs or future improvements. Amazing to see in communities where, only a few years ago, the average household income was around USD $20 per month with no options to save.
These are just a couple of examples showing sustainability in Guinea Bissau. Indeed, many communities are saving money to buy extra pumps and spare pump parts. We are keeping a close eye on communities’ progress and savings and are happy to report that, despite the challenges surrounding COVID-19 and extremely limited opportunities for employment, the communities are doing well and staying strong.

The End of UKAID Support:
WellFound is adjusting to the new reality of the termination of funding from UK Government through the UKAID programme. Over the past 5 years, with the funding from UKAID, WellFound positively impacted over 40,000 people’s lives in the most remote and marginalised villages of Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone. We would like to thank UKAID and the taxpayers who made this possible.

Our plans for coming months:

It is currently the rainy season in West Africa. This means that travelling to the villages is very challenging, especially because WellFound only works with the hardest to reach communities. Where possible, staff have started visiting the villages to have discussions with residents on how outstanding work and improvements can be carried out. We are strengthening the Village Management Committees to ensure that communities self-reliant. However, not only are we working with existing communities to ensure that their needs continue to be met and they are on track to becoming fully self-sufficient, but are we are also starting work in eight new villages across villages across Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone. We hope that with your continued support, we can continue our mission to create a better society for those who need it most.

Hertumisa, WellFound’s Health & Equality worker giving a workshop on COVID-19
A brand new water point in Guinea Bissau, easily accessible for everyone.

If you would like to help our mission, please consider telling a friend, family member of colleague about WellFound. We are happy to answer any questions and are always available at contact@wellfound.org.uk.

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