We recognize that community engagement is the key to success for long-term sustainability of our safe water solutions. Therefore, we have embedded robust community entry and sensitization protocols in our operations model such as Community Leadership Approval, Community Trainings, and Impact Assessments.
Project Maji exists to transform lives of rural communities, left without access to clean water. The empowerment, satisfaction, and well-being of the communities we work in, is at the heart of everything we do. More importantly, we recognize that successful implementation, sustainability, and the impact of our solution lies in the hands of the communities we serve, and community engagement is the key to success.
We seek to foster sustainable relationships across Maji communities. We build trust through robust community entry and sensitization protocols embedded in our operations model. Once funding is secured and a site is selected in partnership with the donor, we begin by implementing our community entry strategy. We conduct preliminary site visits with the goal to engage with community leadership, introduce our solution and its potential benefits to the local community.
Community Leadership Approval
After the technical feasibility of the site has been assured, we seek explicit approval of community leaders through a memorandum of understanding to formally begin operations. This step is crucial in ensuring:
Clarity amongst community leadership regarding responsibilities of the receiving community and Project Maji
Agreement over a nominal fee for safe drinking water
Acceptance of the E-payment system.
Studies show that a lack of communication over roles, water tariffs, organization of committees etc. leads to poor or no acceptance of a water service by rural communities ultimately contributing to its failure. Likewise, clear communication through community sensitization and mobilization, is indispensable for sustaining the receiving community’s willingness to pay for water. This requires safe water enterprises like Project Maji to clearly communicate that the maintenance is an ongoing financial commitment required to sustain the water service.
Community WASH and E-payment Trainings
After the formal inauguration of the kiosk, the Project Maji team organizes formal trainings on proper WASH practices and the introduction of the E-payment system. During these trainings, we explain to the local communities that the water tariff they have agreed to pay, will serve as a maintenance fund for future repair to ensure maximum uptime. Community members pay digitally and need to be reassured that the money they pay is exclusively set aside in a dedicated bank account for the upkeep of their reliable water source. This calls for open communication and engagement to build trust among the villagers.
Community Impact Assessments
We conduct pre-impact surveys in the selected community to assess water access issues, community demographics, and willingness to pay before the kiosk is installed. After six months of installation, we conduct a post-intervention impact survey. The data from this survey is compared against the findings of the pre-impact survey to demonstrate the positive impact of the Maji kiosk in the lives of the local community. This exercise is repeated thereafter annually. The impact studies serve as an opportunity for us to maintain communication with the communities we work in and for the communities to voice their concerns regarding the water services.
Our openness and on-going communication with the local communities ultimately leads to enduring relationships that we value beyond measure. Watch the video below of our Founder and CEO, Sunil Lalvani chatting with the Queen Mother of Onniansanna Community in rural Ghana: