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Water for Good presses on despite risk

By August 6, 2015
Water for Good_guy drinking from pond
Water for Good_Bossangoa map CAR

(Map courtesy Water for Good)

Central African Republic (MNN) — As chaos continues in the Central African Republic, Water for Good is going where the UN won’t.

Local believers are risking it all to help their neighbors in Bossangoa, the capital of Ouham Region. Water for Good’s drilling team just installed 17 new clean water pumps for this war-torn community.

“We have to rely on militia’s local support, who clear the way before us before our teams move,” Water for Good’s David De Armey tells MNN via Skype. “It’s been pretty intense for us.”

An in-country representative of Living Water International, Water for Good hasn’t been to Bossangoa since fighting began more than two years ago.

“There have been many, many changes due to the conflict,” De Armey says.

Helping CAR

Violence and unrest are constants in the Central African Republic, and have been for decades. However the current instability is providing new opportunities.

Girls fetching water from a shallow hand dug well. This is the only water source for 3,500 people at the Castor refugee center.  (Image, caption courtesy Water for Good)

Girls fetching water from a shallow hand-dug well. This is the only water source for 3,500 people at the Castor refugee center.
(Image, caption courtesy Water for Good)

“The conflict, the war, has never touched people’s hearts the way it has this time around, and the Gospel kind of has a fresh new meaning,” says De Armey.

Whether drilling new wells or maintaining clean water sources, Water for Good teams work hand-in-hand with churches throughout CAR to reach entire communities for Christ.

Learn more about their work here.

Since rebels overthrew CAR’s government and the country descended into chaos, over a million people have been displaced. Additionally, more than 190,000 CAR refugees have fled to neighboring countries since December 2013, the UNHCR reports.

“CAR’s been going through its most severe political crisis, and regardless of what happens, people need water,” De Armey observes.

Water for Good needs your help now more than ever, because the unrest shows no signs of letting up soon.

Helping Water for Good

Roughly 50% of CAR’s population needs humanitarian assistance, and services normally provided by the government–healthcare, education, security–are no longer in existence.

It’s up to groups like Water for Good to fill in the gaps, but they need your help.

De Armey describes a couple of ways you can come alongside Water for Good.

  • Pray

“Continue to pray for the Central African Republic,” he says. “I think the Church is under a lot of pressure.

“It’s an opportunity for the Church to take up leadership, and there are individuals in the Church doing that.”

Ask the Lord to protect Water for Good teams as they help people in need through local churches. Pray for safety and security as teams travel through dangerous areas of CAR.

  • Give

Water for Good_show support for CAR

(Photo courtesy Water for Good)

At Water for Good’s Web site, you can help ensure their vital programs continue.

“The maintenance program [for wells]) is among the hardest things to fund,” says De Armey.

“A lot of the available funding is focused more on relief work, and maintenance doesn’t sound like relief.”

  • Go

Unfortunately, the CAR is too dangerous to send mission teams to help. However, by supporting Water for Good, you can assist teams already on-the-ground.

More Central African Republic updates here.

2 Comments

  • DIATO ELENA says:

    Good morning.
    I have lived in Bossangoa for a long period of time and came back just 3 weeks ago.
    I read your article and completely disagree with what stated therein.

    Based upon my direct experience, the humanitarian access in Bossangoa has been possible for at least 20 months. Namely, international NGOs like CRS-Catholic Relief Services, ACF-Action Contre la Faim and MSF-OCA have worked there since November 2013.

    I completely disagree with what stated in the sentence “We have to rely on militia’s local support, who clear the way before us before our teams move”: in the region there is a strong presence of MINUSCA (UN forces) and, before their arrival, the SANGARIS mission patrolled the roads. No major accidents have happened in the town of Bossangoa since September 2013.
    This untrue statement violate the Independence and Neutrality principles contained in the Red Cross/NGO Code of Conduct, that all international NGOs have to subscribe (https://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/publication/p1067.htm)

    Finally, as regards the boreholes, Water for the Good’s received an UNICEF subcontract for the drilling of 10 boreholes in Bossangoa. Water for the Good’s is not employing their own funds, as suggested by the article.
    But what is more important, is that the declared “17 new pumps installed” are not there, since the project has barely started. A 17 boreholes drilling project, with just 1 drilling team and equipment, lasts in general at least 4 to 5 months, without taking in account accidents and the time needed for the geophysical survey.
    As far as I know (and I am quite sure) the mentioned installation of 17 new water hand pumps never occurred.

    I would like to have a proof of what stated (details etcetera). Otherwise, if the information contained therein were demonstrated to be false – as I believe – I ask a clarification article or the suppression of the link from your website; namely, an incorrect information could cause more damages to an already complex situation that requires a clear, correct, non-demagogic spread of information.

    Cordially,
    Elena Diato

  • Katey Hearth says:

    Elena,

    Thank you for your comment. I submitted it to our contacts at Water for Good, and here is the response I received…

    “[Bossangoa] was nearly inaccessible for many NGOs for a while, and for our teams more specifically, we were not able to access Ouham since 2012 due to our staff’s full knowledge of acute insecurity. Our personnel on the field specifically expressed that in some areas, the UN agency (UNICEF) we work with in Ouham requested not to accompany us because of insecurity.

    “Yes, there is formal UN peacekeeping forces (MINUSCA), but they do not accompany every NGO on every trip, in fact they very rarely accompany anyone expect for mass convoys on exceptionally dangerous roads.

    “We have only recently returned to Bossangoa area to do our maintenance work and well-drilling, with various funders of course backing up the work. Elena puts into question our funding, but most NGOs, if not all, operate from very wide sources of funding.

    “We did indeed drill 17 boreholes in partnership with UNICEF as we are their only implementing organization for this project… They have all been successfully drilled and pumps installed. We just submitted an activities report to UNICEF on the work done. If [Elena] needs to see the report, we can send it to her.

    “During the interview I just stated the fact that we’re drilling and implementing wells, I did not take the time to mention sources of funding. It seems to me that sources of funds are irrelevant as I was more focused on saying that we are operational in such and such an area. Maybe I should have mentioned it and I will be glad to respond to Elena personally (we have exchanged emails on the field already) if she has any questions about that.

    “Furthermore, we do not violate NGO code of conduct by seeking local help from Anti-Balaka who control many sections of the roads in that area. This is not in violation of neutrality since we provide borehole drilling and installation of pumps for the general population, not for Anti-Balaka specifically. In fact, it is highly recommended by the United Nations Humanitarian Affairs to seek, first and foremost, community acceptance and collaboration before seeking military support.

    “Only in last resort situations should NGOs seek to be escorted by military. For instance, militia can turn against NGOs if the militia happen to be against military presence. So Elena’s accusation of violating NGO code of conduct is unfounded.”

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