Project Water Pipe
In his 2005 book, The End of Poverty, economist Jeffrey Sachs suggested that with simple, smart solutions to Africa’s inherent obstacles – such as its geography and climate – extreme poverty could be eradicated within 20 years. It may sound like a tall order, but now that Sachs is director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and has sought partnerships with JM Eagle (the world’s largest plastic pipe manufacturer) and the United Nations Development Programme, smart engineering solutions are making a marked impact in some of the poorest communities in the world. And for nations like Senegal, says Sachs, "Water is at the core of economic development and human well being."
On January 14th, the Millennium Villages Project announced the completion of its initiative to bring clean water to rural Senegal, where villagers are otherwise tasked with long journeys to draw water from shared, and often dry, wells. JM Eagle donated $1 million in PVC pipes, and local workers installed a network of pipes and faucets that reach 63 villages and over 12,000 people. Not only is this type of infrastructure critical for human health and hygiene, but it allows women, whose task it is to draw water for their families, more time to contribute to their family’s income with the sale of handmade crafts. For men in Senegal, access to water is vital for high-yield farming practices; children who would normally spend hours each day collecting water are now able to spend those hours in school.
The Earth Institute of Columbia University employs 850 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, and students with the aim to advance what they have defined as nine interconnected global issues: climate and society, water, energy, poverty, ecosystems, public health, food and nutrition, hazards and urbanization.
Watch a video of the project here.
Image:“Precious water” by Manogamo on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing.