: Common River

Discussion Forum

Maintenance and Operation

By Team Blue Posted on Tue 27 Mar 2012, over 10 years ago

Hi Donna,
I thoroughly enjoyed your site, taking the short deviations through reports from your visitors, seeing the map, and all the other exciting things that you have underway in Aleta Wondo. Also, the delightful story behind "Common River". So many questions and thoughts but I will stick with WASH :)

- When you say "we" chlorinate and maintain the wells, do you have a water & sanitation committee group that maintains the wells?
- What is the geographic spread of the surrounding community? Is it easy for the women that attend the literacy program to haul water back to their homes?
- If it wasn't for your community well, where would the community get their water?
- Do you see a need for sanitation within the larger community? Do you think Common River will play a role in providing sanitation in the community?


Maintenance and Operation

By Common River Posted on Sat 31 Mar 2012, over 10 years ago

Dear Madan,

Thanks for your response and request for more info. In response to your questions:

1) Our staff chlorinates the wells on our school campus. One well near the road is chlorinated by a volunteer who also assures it is covered, as we give permission for the close by households to access that well.

2) Our school is a community school, so the students are from the surrounding kebele, which is on the outskirts of town and in the coffee plantation area. Women who attend our school can carry the water to their huts from our school, since they most likely have a longer walk from their home to a water source.

3) Most of the surrounding community members get their water from local springs or water stations. The water stations have long queues and are often broken.

4) There is a huge need for sanitation within the larger community. We requested a Peace Corps volunteer to our town in 2009. The volunteer did some WatSan and had a latrine built in the middle of a local market. We would like to organize a proper WatSan community committee that would be able to train families in the use of latrines, etc. Last year's Univ. of Texas medical student volunteers conducted a house-to-house survey on water and sanitation and when that survey is completed, we would like to share it with you.

Thank you for your interest in our program,
Donna Sillan


By Global Women's Water Initiative Posted on Tue 20 Mar 2012, over 10 years ago

Hello and welcome

Thanks so much for sharing your programs and mission.

I have a few questions in regards to being included in PWX. I see you have built 4 dug wells. What are your future water goals? What do you want to get out of being in PWX?

How do you maintain the other wells? How is it protected? Has the water been tested? Do you do sanitation?

Good luck


By Common River Posted on Tue 20 Mar 2012, over 10 years ago

Our future water goals is to distribute clean water to our school (150 day and 150 night students) and the surrounding community of 4000. We want to have distribution points for our neighbors for washing and laundry.

We want to get clean water out of PWX by being a part of a network of water people who can offer their guidance, share their experience and expertise, and direct us to funding sources.

We maintain the wells through regular floridation and cleaning. We protect the wells keeping them covered. The water has been tested and has high iron content. For sanitation, we have 6 latrines for the school and 2 latrines and 2 showers for volunteer guests.

Thank you for your interest in our program.

Re: Welcome!

By Blue Planet Network Posted on Mon 26 Mar 2012, over 10 years ago

Hi Donna,

1. Do you really do floridation? Or do you mean chlorination?

2. Iron is fairly easy to remove; here in India we have clay pot iron filters that are easy to make, fairly inexpensive, and effective. Would you be interested?

3. Can you also describe your catchment on the office building? What is it? What is the storage? What are the results?


Vision, structure and communication

By Blue Planet Network Posted on Mon 02 Apr 2012, over 10 years ago

Hi Donna,

Am trying to understand the organization. Is it you and/or Tsegaye who hold the vision for the community? Is Tsegaye on-site? How often do you visit?

What is your vision beyond the community? To either grow or seed?

What is your role from afar? Is any of the discussion of Aguayuda (esp. as you implement some bigger components)?


Vision, structure and communication

By Common River Posted on Mon 02 Apr 2012, over 10 years ago

The community holds the vision. Common River is based upon the initial needs assessment conducted in 2007 when the community vision was facilitated. Tsegaye and I are co-founders and Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer respectively residing in the US. We work in Aleta Wondo 3-4 months per year (most of the summer and another trip usually in Dec/Jan).

Our vision in the future is to replicate our model within new communities to expand in Ethiopia. Our site would serve as a "living university" whereby we would train other development workers in Aleta Wondo so that others could directly witness program and dialogue with our local staff.

The program is managed by a local Program Manager, who ironically is also named Tsegaye. He manages a staff of 17 local people. We provide oversight and manage the team from abroad through regular communications via phone and email. We have a Country Representative in Addis Ababa, the capital. By design, our program is implemented by local staff members. When in the US, we seek funders, give presentations to schools, solicit volunteers, document program, design curriculum for the school and adult trainings, and provide overall management to the program.

Aguayuda is relevant to us and very similar in approach and vision. We adhere to their process and implementation strategy and hope to accomplish what they have been able to.

Thank you. Donna Sillan, MPH

Vision, structure and communication

By Common River Posted on Mon 02 Apr 2012, over 10 years ago

Regarding the issue of technical expertise for a water system, Tsegaye Bekele, a US water pipe contractor would be on the ground during any water installaton process to provide technical oversight. As an emerging NGO we can not afford to hire a technical expert. The local staff is salaried however, we remain unsalaried. There is also a lack of capacity in southern Ethiopia to be able to find someone with the appropriate skills to be on our staff.
We would train a water committee on the ground to maintain the system before Tsegaye departs.