Heifer acknowledges that water cannot be addressed in an isolated manner and the use of low-investment water technologies can contribute to moving a community towards their goals. According to the International Water Management Institute's report "Water and livestock for human development," depriving smallholder livestock keepers in developing countries of animals will quickly exacerbate poverty. Thus sustainably improving human well-being requres an understanding of how livestock, water resources, and poverty are intertwined to help ensure that livestock and water development are advanced in a balanced way.
Governments in Asia and the South Pacific have traditionally been a partner in funding or providing water collection materials. Additionally, there is the consideration of continuing maintenance costs for the water component, an expense the community or self-help group may need to find a way to cover.
Heifer Ukraine has included a Heifer-funded well water testing and education piece, as well as a surface water cleaning component, funded by an external source. The surface water cleaning project has been maintained and the villagers continue to adhere to the guidelines necessary to keep the water clean. The well water testing component served the purpose of raising awareness about water quality.
The West Africa country programs view water as a necessary prerequisite for successful implementation of Heifer projects. Heifer Sierra Leone secured external funding to dig a well and install a pump above the well. Two hundred families benefited from this project, which was overseen by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. Other projects in West Africa have included a bio-sand filtration unit for water quality in Cameroon reduce the burden on women carrying water in Ghana. An external source funded a Heifer South Africa project that included the installation of 35 wells for 4,000 beneficiaries.
The Americas program has addressed water components through various methods that are appropriate to each specific country situation.
Elements of Development: Sharing Heifer International's Global Impact, April 2011
- One person in seven does not have access to clean water.