Posted by: meaghaninwaslala | November 12, 2009

The Importance of Household Surveys

Currently we are working to improve our knowledge on the impact we are having in our communities, as well as better evaluating the needs of each of our communities. We are developing surveys to conduct in communities before the implementation of a water system as well as six months after a water system is installed and every year thereafter.

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El Barillal #2, September 2009 : Santiago, in the green baseball cap on the left, with community members. Santiago traveled to all 48 houses in El Barillal #2 to conduct the Water Ministry Preliminary Survey.

In September, we surveyed El Barillal #2, where our next water system will be constructed. We are proud to announce that the first survey was a success and was completed in less than a week’s time and included all 48 houses in the community. A Waslalan named Santiago helped us gain accurate results and also gain credibility and keep the survey unbiased. Santiago had just arrived back in Waslala after studying two years in the US and expressed his interest in the project in July.

As we continue to survey other communities, we will adapt our questions in order to get the most out of our results. The most notable of these questions regard income and expenses. Many of the families that we work with are farming families that often do not see actual money in their daily life. They farm for food and eat to survive. Others sell some of their crops and see some exchange of money, but, as we found through this survey, the amount gained and spent are not tracked or written in any way and practically no one has an idea of their flow of household money. For this reason it has proved a challenge working with communities to develop funds for the future of their water systems.

So far we’ve been able gain some interesting insights from our data. The average walk to get water takes 14 minutes, which is done 2.6 times per day. The average number of liters carried per trip is 35, and this work is often completed by children and/or the women of the household.

Bit by bit we will be analyzing the data, comparing them with other communities, and, in the future, using the data to determine what communities warrant a system based on need, interest, health, average distance travelled to get water, and community organization.


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