...An All Too Common Story

“We lack access to clean water.”
“Every day, we and our children walk
 long distances to collect water.”

Anyone who spends enough time in Burkina Faso’s numerous rural communities will inevitably hear the all too common story about insufficient water access. Even in villages with water pumps, there is still only partial coverage of water needs. Hand dug wells are common, but can easily become contaminated. Communities with well pumps oftentimes lack proper pump maintenance systems. Generally speaking, people express that there is a clear lack of viable alternatives.

Our Approach

Our integrated Ko Neere approach is the result of three decades of diverse experience working in rural communities in Burkina Faso. 

We begin by surveying village water access and level of community organization.

Then village-based associations and traditional leadership organize to exchange knowledge and information to arrive at a practical design and implementation plan.

We then facilitate implementation while providing ongoing follow up and training to associations based on need. Most follow up modules centre around community & family sustenance gardens, watershed management and self-help methodologies.

Ko Neere is an adaptable, low input program with obvious, tangible benefits for rural communities.

Hand dug holes dug in damp area

This is a common solution for communities lacking resources. Tough it addresses the need, water is generally not available in larger quantities, and is easily contaminated. During the rainy season each year, the hole fills up with sediment that leads to a need for constant maintenance. Nonetheless, it remains a popular choice.

Open wells

Open wells are also relatively inexpensive to construct, which makes them another popular choice for communities. Despite having concrete walls, water is largely unprotected and can become dirty. Access to water, too, requires ropes / make-shift buckets, which is often laborsome and time consuming.


Boulis tend to collect an incredible amount of surface water during the rainy season, much of which lasts through the dry season. Using common water pumps, they allow the irrigation of large market gardens. Boulis are relatively expensive to construct. They require a high level of community organization to manage and maintain. Water must also be treated for drinking purposes. Boulis act as an attractive oasis for flora and fauna, while also feeding subterranean water stores.

Bore holes & open wells with hand pump

Boreholes are a popular solution for community drinking water. They strike deep, subterranean water stores, which are naturally clean and protected. One can also improve the system by adding a solar electric pump that regularly pumps to a storage tank for household and farm use. Though costly, they are a durable solution for rural communities.


Kiendpalogo is a traditional Mossi village, 40 km Northwest of Ouagadougou. Until this year, the 1,200 inhabitants collected water by hand from a single 24 meter deep well. Recently, a bore well was dug by the government, which unfortunately ended up giving little water, of which none is drinkable. Nevertheless, as soon as it was available, a 32 member women’s association, specializing in parsley and tomato cultivation, organized gardens which they now water from this borewell. During a visit to the village, we observed the group pumping water and carrying it on their heads to water the market gardens. Their initiative inspired us to assist the community, not only to improve their access to clean water, but also to further support the women’s association in their activities.

We learned the Kiendpologo women’s group traditionally works together during the rainy season, helping one another cultivate, irrigate and harvest. For them, better water access means more productive sustenance and market gardens, cleaner water for consumption and improvement in overall health.

Through group discussions, we arrived at a decision to install a manual hand pump, which we will cover with a concrete slab. In this way, the water will be maintained clean, it will be easier to access (easier to run a manual pump than using rope/buckets) and it will be a secondary source of water for irrigation. In addition, the group expressed interest in learning more agro-ecological techniques to improve the quality of soil and increase the diversity of vegetables cultivated. AMURT agreed to provide specialized training in composting, bio-pesticides, and sustainable land/watershed management.

Kiendpalogo is just one of numerous villages and women’s associations that exist throughout Burkina Faso’s countryside. It exemplifies the way in which the Ko Neere model can be applied nationwide. 

Because saving water is at the heart of our values, Joseffa supports the  KO NEERE project 

in Burkina Faso. 

To contribute and become a part in the project, go to:


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