The limited access to clean water, for the people of Umutnana, made us aware of the substandard living conditions still experienced by many Indonesian citizens. It is a challenge to obtain clean water in Umutnana. More than 700 people in the Umutnana Village, East_ Nusa Tenggara, lack access to clean water. These villagers must walk two kilometers from their homes in order to obtain water. Each day they need to make three trips, which is about four hours of their time. Time that could be spent doing something productive or their own lives. This problem gave rise to the birth of Solar Chapter
"It was never enough water for their homes, and it left them little time to earn money, study, and achieve their dreams."
By the time we arrived at an elementary school in Umutnana, a small crowd of students and teachers had already gathered to welcome us. We will never be able to forget the warm welcome and seeing those excited faces. One of the teachers, Mrs. Angela, led us to rows of chairs in the middle of the field. As we walked by, I saw plenty of empty buckets outside the classrooms. Curious, I asked Mrs. Angela what the buckets were there for.
“Those are from our students,” She answered.
Hold on, I thought, a little bit confused by her answer. “I thought the water for the school came from the water trucks that deliver the water every week”, I responded.
“That’s true”, she smiled. “However, the water from the trucks is very expensive and our school cannot afford to buy water for all of the students”.
Eventually, we figured out that the school assigns the students daily chores to bring water to school using those buckets. The children of Umutnana village would start walking hours before dawn to the spring to collect water for their homes and also for their schools
“Hearing this from anyone is hard. Despite no running water, every day the classrooms are full of kids in white and red uniforms, still eager to learn”.
Solar Chapter will collaborate with PAMSIMAS (A National Platform for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation) to provide easier access for clean water. Our plan is to build a reservoir to collect water from three water sources, which will then deliver the water to the distribution tank near the village by using solar pumps. From the distribution tank, the water will be distributed to 16 public faucets across the village.
From January 9th to the 14th of 2018, Solar Chapter implemented its first chapter. With a plan and design in hand, we journeyed to the Umutnana Village. We were received positively by the villagers, as we came to fulfill a promise we made in August 2017, that we would ease their efforts in obtaining clean water. As we built our solar water pump, the villagers were eager to help, aiding us in digging a route for the pipes, and constructing the solar panels. Now the villagers of Umutnana do not have to walk two kilometers daily to obtain water. Instead, the water will be available at 16 different public faucets, available in less than ten meters from their homes
Our project is unique because it is sustainable in two ways; it utilizes clean energy and involves every part of the village community (men, women, and children). To leverage the 4 productive hours villagers now have, we provided better school facilities for the children and reignited weaving culture in the women by helping them sell their products. Villagers also take ownership of the water pump and pipes by setting up a community fund to protect and manage their new water system. We also continuously educate villagers about the importance of taking care of the pump and how solar panels work.