I should say a few more words about the water projects that our Friends of the Fulbe Society sponsor. Some may worry that this ministry is somehow taking work away from local Nigerians, because we are doing things for them that they could very well do for themselves. Let me explain how it works.
On this side of the pond we mostly supply the funds needed to buy materials and pay for labour costs. The cost of a water project may run anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 depending on the source, the distance from the village(s), and many other factors. The villages we target are typically small to mid-size, and there is no way they could afford to finance such a project on their own.
Our team on the ground is made up entirely of Nigerians. The team is overseen by a Nigerian engineer. He is now responsible to scout out locations for possible spring catchments, and he looks after the workers, ensuring that the job is done well.
This team does not do all the work, however. Much of the manual work is given over to the villagers – this is one of the conditions that must be met before a project is begun. The villagers must agree to “own” the project themselves by providing for the necessary sand, rock, and labour to dig trenches, and so on. Were it not for this ‘voluntary labour’ from the receiving village the labour costs would sky-rocket to where even North Americans could not really afford to finance a water project.
Does it go without saying that all of the materials are bought locally: the cement, the plastic piping, and so on? These are all Nigerian projects, benefitting Nigerians not just by providing water, but by giving long-term jobs to the crew.
Our latest project is just in the beginning stages. A family here in Canada has seven children who wished to honour their parents’ memory with a memorial gift. Their parents were passionate about blessing people with fresh, clean water, but during their lifetime were hampered financially. Their seven children now find themselves in a position to see their parents’ dream become a reality. Each one has given $1000 so that we now have $7,000 with which to bless whole communities of people.
Our team is actively searching for a location now – in fact they think they might have found a spring that could furnish as many as seven small villages with fresh, clean water. Now THAT is a living memorial. God bless that family, and may their tribe increase.