After living and working in Africa for four years, Alyssa Lindsay has returned to Canada.
During her time abroad, Alyssa worked with EWB’s Water & Sanitation Venture in Malawi, Africa as both an EWB Fellow and a Venture Leader.
EWB’s Water & Sanitation venture works throughout Malawi to strengthen the role that local government plays in ensuring that communities receive consistent access to clean water and sanitation services.
Without maintenance and repairs, water and sanitation infrastructure often breaks down after installation; negating sustainable social development. Local government, as a permanent institution, has a key role to ensure that there are systems in place to maintain functionality of pumps and latrines over time. Although, this doesn’t mean that government has to do everything on its own.
“If government can work effectively with different stakeholders to establish long-term service plans, then even shorter term projects can obtain the intended positive social impact,” says Alyssa. “EWB’s WatSan venture plays an integral role in both directly supporting local government in carrying out this type of planning, as well as working to change other systemic barriers that prevent planning from happening.”
The WatSan team also works to strengthen coordination between donors and government for water infrastructure projects. The venture’s unique and neutral positioning allows it to facilitate needed conversations about how donor-funded projects can be established to strengthen, rather than diminish, the role that local governments play.
“Having both field level experiences with local government and involvement in national level policy and funding discussions means that the WatSan can act as a bridge between these spheres to strength their connection,” says Alyssa. “Ultimately, WatSan is trying to work its way out of this role as the structures and behaviors to support improved coordination, learning, and connection develop without the venture.”
Thanks to EWB’s Water & Sanitation venture and four years of Alyssa’s dedication to the team, Malawi community members have sustained access to clean and safe water.