Reducing our water footprint!

5th August 2013

After a busy and productive Phase One for 13QR, the Field Base staff welcomed the teams back with open arms for the phase one review where they had a couple of days to catch up, de-mud and gain essential training to prepare them for the busy Phase Two ahead.

Day one was all about idea sharing, highlighting and overcoming potential challenges teams may face in Phase Two. Activities kicked off with ‘project village presentations’ where each team got to discuss the work they have completed so far.  By using research collated from completing local Household Surveys and the PRA exercises they were able to explain what steps they are taking to meet their villagers’ needs.

I must say that I was incredibly impressed with some of the ideas that be being bounced around so early on in the project, one of my favourites included a ‘Walk to school club’ which is successfully encouraging local children to stay in school (IC11). Amongst a lot of the teams already, a number of Self Help Groups have been formed providing empowerment to groups of women/men by structuring a simple saving scheme enabling them to gain funding that can be used towards personal or community development.

Day Two was another jam-packed day where we got volunteers thinking how they can make a positive, sustainable impact in their project villages for Phase Two. Many teams have highlighted potential areas in which to raise health awareness, so a session in lesson planning was a useful tool to prepare the volunteers with ideas for creating some engaging and educational lessons.

I wanted to get the volunteers really thinking about their environmental impact on their project villages so as part of my Action at Home project I ran an interactive session to highlight the problems related to water scarcity. Within this session I got the teams thinking about how they can reduce their water footprint and create their own water saving solutions specific to their village...

Did you know?  The average person in the developing world uses just 10 litres  of water every day for their drinking, washing and cooking, where as the average European uses 200 litres of water.

Did you know? Young girls are often expected to help their mothers fetch water, meaning they lose out on education, diminishing the possibility of gaining a more prominent role in their community. Of the world’s 759 million illiterate adults, two-thirds are women.

The volunteers were in agreement on how the current (very wet) monsoon season might be beneficial in helping them with this! In order to support the teams’ in reducing their water footprint, for Phase Two I have set them a challenge in 3 simple steps..

Step one: Complete a Raleigh Water chart! This is a diagram in which the team can visually monitor their daily usage of washing water; they can also keep track of how much their team is drinking to ensure everyone is staying hydrated!

Step two: Harvest rainwater! By re-using unwanted materials found in their villages they make the most of the monsoon season and invent some rain catchment systems that could have many uses including hand washing, cleaning dishes, cleaning project site toilets, clothes washing etc.

Step three: Teach others how to save water...via the Tippy Tap!!

The tippy tap is a hands free way to wash your hands that is especially appropriate for rural areas where there is no running water. It is operated by a foot lever and thus reduces the chance for bacteria transmission as the user touches only the soap.

Did you know? In the developing world, 1.8 million children die every year from diarrhoea. Hand-washing with soap at critical times can reduce the incidence of diarrhoea by up to 47%.

The Tippy Tap uses only 40 millilitres of water to wash your hands versus 500 millilitres using a mug. Additionally, the used “waste” water can go to plants or back into the water table.

All teams highlighted how their villages are in desperate need of learning the importance of hand washing, so the Tippy Tap is an excellent aid in delivering some hand washing awareness classes and using less water but using it more wisely!

It’s been one week since the teams returned to their villages and already approximately 16 Tippy Taps have been introduced into the villages with more being made almost daily. The response from the villagers so far has been excellent and the children especially are really enjoying using it for their hand washing. A few of the teams have even mentioned implementing the Tippy Tap model with each beneficiary family in order to promote hand washing and saving water! Result!

Check the blog again soon for a progress report and pictures of the steps 13QR are making to reduce their water footprints!

See the award winning Tippy Tap video by clicking here



IR4 and their first Tippy Tap!


water  waterchart

IY1 making a start on the Raleigh India Water Challenge



IY8 practicing how to build their own Tippy Tap at Field Base!