Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development to provide wells in Burkina Faso

Author: Michael Sweikar

Communities in Burkina Faso, in West Africa, will soon enjoy better quality water provided by nine new wells, thanks to the efforts of Notre Dame’s Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) in cooperation with Engage Burkina and Clean Water in Africa.

Based in Burkina Faso, Engage Burkina is working to build new wells throughout the country of Burkina Faso and is working in partnership with Clean Water in Africa and a network of Churches in South Bend, IN. Through this network that includes Clay United Methodist Church, they have already built nearly 100 wells in other communities of this undeveloped country that are all in dire need of water.

Leveraging these partnerships that have years of experience in providing quality wells in Burkina Faso will ensure the oversight of the new wells, as well as help determine which sites throughout the country have the greatest need for water.

As part of the project, a Notre Dame research team will conduct a study to determine what benefits the wells provide for the communities being served. The research team, which includes the Kellogg Institute’s Ford Family Program Research Director William N. Evans and NDIGD Impact Evaluation Specialist, Juan Carlos Guzman, will conduct the survey research and analysis for the project.

Wells bring many benefits to the community besides providing access to higher-quality water. The projected results could include a decrease in diarrhea incidence and time spent collecting water, as well as an overall increase in productive activities for women and school attendance by children.

burkina_iiiEvans said, “A properly constructed well is going to reduce the instances of diseases like cholera and typhoid. Waterborne diseases are the leading cause of diarrhea, which is the second leading cause of death among children worldwide.”

The Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development, based in Notre Dame’s Office of Research, is a multidisciplinary enterprise on the Notre Dame campus that leverages the University’s signature strengths to help develop solution-oriented research focused on rigorous, data-driven impact evaluation and assessment; design and planning of development projects; and training.

Guzman said, “Our research will help measure important outcomes due to the new wells, including helping to answer questions such as the type of well that provides the most value to the community.”

For the monitoring and evaluation component of this project, the research will focus on comparing villages receiving wells to a control group of villages. This baseline survey will be conducted in the fall of 2013, with a follow-up survey to be completed the following year.

burkina_well_iiThe country of Burkina Faso has a population of approximately 17 million and is consistently ranked as one of the five poorest countries in the world. Ninety percent of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture, which is made difficult because of the harsh climate. One in 3.4 children living in this area dies before the age of 10, and many of them die from water-borne illnesses.

Tim and Diane Madden through their family foundation have provided a generous gift to the University of Notre Dame in order to make this Burkina Faso well project a reality.

Clean Water in Africa and Engage Burkina have set a goal to build 1,000 wells in Burkina Faso. If you are interested in helping us achieve this goal, contact NDIGD’s Managing Director, Michael Sweikar