Field Note #202: Phase Three
The final phase of each W|W project focuses on community resilience. While phase one and phase two focus on the physical aspects and practices of clean water and proper hygiene practices, phase three delves into emotional and cultural aspects of owning a sustainable water system.
Volunteers and W|W staff are consistently involved in the first two stages of this implementation process, but the final stage allows community members to take full control; while they have bought in and taken ownership of the project throughout the implementation process, they now have complete ownership of their sustainable water source - it’s a transfer of ownership and a way for W|W volunteers and staff to bow out of the community and leave them in a healthy and sustainable place in regard to mental, emotional, cultural, and physical health.
Part of this final phase is the creation of sustainable living teams. These majority-female teams act as an insurance policy for the community’s sustainable water source - they take ownership of the project and dedicate themselves to making sure that the community follows WASH standards and cares well for their water systems, making them able to last a lifetime.
In essence, this stage is about completing the circle of teaching someone to fish, allowing them to fish for a lifetime rather than handing them a fish and feeding them for a day.
Having a full understanding of clean water and proper sanitation practices opens the door to growth in so many ways in each community. Once a location is in the third stage of the project, schools can begin to grow, health clinics are able to flourish, and social boundaries are able to be questioned and broken.
- Haley Banks Harwood, W|W Intern