Washington — Peace Corps volunteer Danielle Maisano of Macomb Township, Michigan, is working with nearly 70 community members to replace broken water pumps in 23 Togolese villages.
The new pumps will provide clean water to more than 20,000 villagers and help reduce illness and infant mortality rates. A portion of the funds for the project will be raised through the Peace Corps Partnership Program, which helps support Peace Corps volunteer community projects worldwide.
"Without proper access to clean water, community members often suffer from nutritional deficiencies and waterborne diseases," said Maisano, who has been working in Togo as a health volunteer since June 2011. "For millions of people living in developing countries like Togo, these conditions are everyday realities that inhibit their ability to work, pursue an education or raise a family. Access to clean water is not only the basis of reducing poverty and illness, it is the foundation of a productive and fully functioning community."
A local mechanic will oversee the pump replacement process, which will be completed by community members. Maisano's community has contributed 25 percent of the funds needed to complete the project, a requirement necessary to receive funding through the Partnership Program. This helps ensure community ownership and a greater chance of long-term sustainability.
"Each of these communities understand that immeasurable amounts of time and resources are lost due to illnesses and other problems resulting from a lack of access to clean water," said Maisano, a graduate of Western Michigan University. "They understand the magnitude of the impact this project can have."
There are 118 Peace Corps volunteers serving in Togo; more than 2,680 volunteers have served there since the program was established in 1962. Volunteers work in the areas of education, environment, health, business and information technology. They are trained and work in the following languages: Adja, Bassar, Ewe/Watchi, French, Gourma, Haoussa, Ifè (Ana), Kabiyé, Kotokoli, Mina and Tchokossi (Anoufo).