A newly trained mechanic is fixing a nonfunctioning hand-pump with community support in Paktia Province.
The people of Afghanistan have long suffered from extremely limited access to safe drinking water and hygienic sanitation. In support of the new government, many donors are investing in water supply and sanitation across the geographically diverse country. Significant funding has been spent and thousands of hand pumps, piped water schemes, and latrines have been constructed. However, lack of sustainability and community involvement in their maintenance remains a significant challenge to ensuring the long-term value of these infrastructure investments.
Recently, USAID launched a district hand-pump mechanic initiative to involve communities in the maintenance of newly constructed wells. The initiative involves training and equipping community-selected residents to take responsibility for newly constructed hand-pump wells. Mohammad Omer, a resident of Qarghayee District of Laghman Province, was trained to take responsibility for maintaining 25 hand-pumps recently constructed in Aziz Khan Kas community, where he lives. “We learned and understood all skills required for the proper well maintenance,” said Mohammad. “Our core job is to monitor and properly maintain hand-pumps. With the support of communities, we will keep new infrastructure functioning.”
After receiving training and equipment from the district hand-pump mechanic initiative, the local shuras organize remuneration of the pump mechanics in line with local customs. Currently, more than 30 mechanics have been trained and equipped with tool kits and are responsible for maintaining nearly 1,000 wells in various communities in Kapisa, Parwan, Nangarhar, Laghman, Ghazni, Paktya, and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan.
USAID’s Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation project is a three-year USAID activity that works with communities to ensure sustainability of rural water and sanitation investments.