Evidence Action: Providing Safe Water to Communities in East and Southern Africa

Welcome back, lovely humans! It’s #ThirstyThursday (it’s still cool to say that, right?) so today we’re going to introduce you to an amazing impact-driven partner that’s working hard to make drinkable water accessible to everyone.

That’s right, we’re looking at you, Evidence Action!

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What’s the story?

Evidence Action scales proven development solutions to benefit millions of people around the world. They fill the gap between knowing “what works” and having impact at scale. They do this by implementing cost-effective interventions whose efficacy is backed by substantial rigorous evidence. Furthermore, they identify innovative, appropriate financing mechanisms and build best-practice operational models.

Evidence Action continuously self-evaluates, learns, and improves their models for scaling with a commitment to transparency on progress, impact, and value for money.

(Awesome, right?)

The organization’s current initiatives include Evidence Action Beta, which focuses on pressure-testing promising interventions, and Deworm the World Initiative, which scales up school-based deworming programs worldwide.

Last but certainly not least, Evidence Action’s Dispensers for Safe Water initiative is an entrepreneurial program that dramatically expands access to water treatment at an extremely low cost for more than 4.7 million people in Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda.

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Source: WaterAid.org
The Problem

Unsafe drinking water is a global problem, with almost one billion people lacking access to a reliable water supply. Over 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. Unsafe drinking water is also a leading cause of diarrheal disease with nearly two billion cases each year globally. An estimated 760,000 children under five die from diarrhea each year, making it a leading cause of childhood mortality.

The Solution

Evidence Action focuses on sustainable service delivery, not a one-time hardware installation. Dispensers for Safe Water are a proven solution to the global crisis of access to clean water. Evidence Action treats water with chlorine, a proven, low-cost water treatment solution. Success is measured by actual use of chlorine, and by leveraging cues from behavioral economics to achieve high rates of adoption. They take on the challenge of sustainability and solve it, but do not resort to user fees which would screen out many households.

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Source: USAID.gov | Photo Credit: Jonathan Kalan
How it works
  1. We place chlorine dispensers in the immediate vicinity of wells and other water sources.
  2. Community members go to their water source to fetch water, place their bucket or jerrican under the dispenser, turn the valve to dispense a correctly measured amount of diluted chlorine, and then fill the bucket with water.
  3. The chlorine disinfects the water as a community member is walking home, and by the time he or she arrives, much of the chlorine smell has dissipated and they are left with clean, safe water that stays safe for 2-3 days.
Sustainability
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Source: EvidenceAction.org

Dispenser access is free to users, but the organization does not rely solely on donations or grant funding to cover the costs of service delivery. Instead, Evidence Action works with experts to develop, monitor, audit, issue and sell carbon credits. They then use the revenues earned from carbon sales to reinvest in the program, ensuring that it is sustainable over the long term.

Get involved

You can make a donation in support of any of Evidence Action’s initiative’s on their website. Alternatively, if you’re tying the knot sometime soon, consider creating a charitable wedding registry that helps provide safe water to communities in East and Southern Africa!

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