MIT Public Service Center

Bhimphedi Drinking Water Project

Bhim Khanepani Upabhokta Samiti (Bhim Drinking-Water Customer Committee) and Amics Del Nepal
Nepal
http://www.amicsnepal.org/en/

Background

AMICS DEL NEPAL is an NGO that works to improve the living conditions of children, youth, women and other disadvantaged groups in Nepal, in the fields of health, education and community development, within a context of sustainability and respect for Nepalese culture.

The Challenge

As pluridisciplinary volunteers going every summer to Bhimphedi (Nepal), we are trying to fulfill one of this village's main needs: a sustainable treatment of their drinking water, in order to improve the community health (right now many water borne diseases are affecting villagers). Two years ago, it was the villagers themselves who asked us if we could do something about it. So, we took the commitment to do something about it and last year we started by doing some water analysis in the field, and confirmed there were many e-colis. We also raised funds from Rotary Club International (in collaboration with a local Rotary Club) to fix one of their old water tanks, which is now being used as a storage tank for the dry season. This tank has also been equipped with some sand filters, but they are still not enough for killing bacteria.

Next summer we are going back and would like to go further in this project. We know it is a complex issue, since chlorination is a very delicate issue, specially dosing... We have also heard of specific sand filters that can kill e-coli. But we are very positive about it, and we believe that if we all think together, we can find the most suitable solution for this wonderful village.

The community has a water tank system and water pipe networks. A Committee of three villagers (volunteer people), take care of all these infrastructures. The student working with us (preferably next summer) can gain a lot of knowledge on how these basic communities are living, what are their main needs and what can be done from the field (not only from the office, in the distance). It is also very inspiring and rewarding to live for some weeks in a village like Bhimphedi, faraway from the noise and haste of Kathmandu, enjoying all the villager's smiles and hospitality.

Qualifications, Preferences, and Assets

Water treatment knowledge, specially oriented to rural communities with very poor and basic infrastructures. As a needed language, English is enough: not all the villagers speak it, but you will always find a good translator amongst them.

Time constraints

It would be very good that the student could come during July or August, since most of our volunteers are going to be there, and we can host them in order to meet the right people, visiting the water infrastructures, etc. There is no internet connection in that village (only modems with very weak network, causing a super-slow connection...). But one hour away there is a village (Hetauda), where there are plenty of cyber cafes. Mobile network available in that village, it is possible to call to/from local nepali mobile numbers. About time constraints, to be honest we would welcome your help anytime, but as I said, to be able to coordinate the work in a better way, it would be great if they can come during summer months. In other months we'll also have volunteers in Nepal, but maybe they will not be so much aware of the water project.

Contact

Generally speaking, we think we can be coordinating this project from Barcelona, since we know all the local contacts in Bhimphedi, and we can call them on their phones.
From the next month on, we will have a long-term volunteer in Nepal, staying for one year, and he can be a contact person for this project.

Monica Sans: monicasansduran@gmail.com, Coordinator in Barcelona
Daniel Roig: daroba4@hotmail.com, Coordinator in Nepal, from April 2013.

PSC Support

MIT students who develop projects around these ideas may apply for support from the Public Service Center's Fellowships or Grants program. You will first need to contact the community partner to develop your plans.

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