Water Access: Since 2007 the Songhai Center has been producing Ceramic Water Filters (CWFs) for use in homes in Benin. Each Songhai Center CWF provides clean water for a home. Several hundred CWFs are in use, with more being made each day, so that several thousand people in Benin have access to clean drinking water for the first time.

Health Care: WATER has conducted five health education clinics in Benin and has worked with the Songhai Center and Centre Afrika Obota to help develop health care resources in Benin. We have focused on providing basic health education, first aid training and worker safety. We have also provided health care supplies and equipment to our partners thanks to the kindness of our supporting donors.

Economic Development: WATER has worked closely with Centre Afrika Obota and the Songhai Center to help the village of Zoungbomey gain access to palm oil processing equipment. Centre Afrika Obota works with a women's work cooperative in the village to help them manage income so that there is adequate finances in the coop for family health care and for the very first time, children in the village will be able to attend school thanks to the resources provided by WATER donors and partners.

Education: W.A.T.E.R. provides real-world problems that students can address meaningfully, even as early undergraduates. From 2004-12, over 85 students participated in the interdisciplinary courses abroad or in their capstone design course. Twenty-six (36%) of engineering students were women, compared to the usual 10-20% of women in “traditional” engineering programs. To date, there have been 38 graduates (14 women, 24 men) who participated in the WATER. Twelve have gone onto graduate school, 6 more have applied to graduate school and 6 went into full-time service programs (like the Peace Corps). These are 200-300% the rates seen amongst non-participants. All this suggests that, for both men and women, a new problem-based, humanistic approach to engineering and health education is an important educational experience. 

 

 

Children in the village look through the window of a new building as palm oil processing equipment is being delivered that will help these boys go to school for the first time.