Feredansi Niyonzima is saving lives by teaching her community how to avoid water borne diseases. She is one of 150 people, both men and women, who have trained as water committee members as part of Cord’s spring construction work in Burundi.

Within communities, children are most vulnerable to the diseases that result from lack of water, dirty water and poor sanitation. Diarrhoea, often caused by poor hygiene due to a lack of clean water, is the single biggest killer of children under five in Africa. In the worst affected areas of Burundi one in four children die from diarrhoea.

Feredansi, 32, lives on Ntembwe Hill and is married with six children between ten months and 13 years old. Her children have suffered from diarrhoea.  

“It is my responsibility to work for life giving opportunities like being a water committee member.”Hygiene tools and promotion can have a huge impact in preventing water borne diseases. This year the World Bank stated that hygiene promotion is the most cost effective health intervention. (Saving lives, WaterAid, 2012)

Alongside the construction of springs that are safe and closer to people’s homes, Cord staff carry out a two day training course for water committee members in collaboration with the water authority.

The training focusses on ten key hygiene messages that everyone should know in order to stay healthy. It also covers the committee’s role keeping the springs clean and collecting money for necessary maintenance work. So far 150 people have been trained and the water authority visits the committees regularly to provide technical support.