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Balouo Salo's Latest Project Provides Potable Water to over 3000 People in Southern Senegal

The humanitarian organisation Balouo Salo donates a new well to improve accessibility to drinking water and reduce child mortality in southern Senegal.

It is estimated that around 60% of the world's children do not have access to purified water sources due to issues related to poverty, lack of infrastructure, conflicts and environmental disasters.

The humanitarian organisation, Balouo Salo, founded in 2013 by architect and activist Raoul Vecchio and cultural mediator Jali Diabate, has been working for several years on charity projects aimed at improving accessibility to drinking water in rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa and more specifically in southern Senegal.

The hallmark of these projects is the use of a solar water lifting system and a water sterilization and filtration system consisting of a prefilter, an osmosis filter and a UV sterilization lamp. These systems have shown, in wells that have already been constructed, a reduction of over 60% in cases of diarrhea, infections, maintenance therefore infant mortality, which in the region of intervention has rates well above the national average.

In recent years, the organisation has carried out projects in the villages of Sanoufily and Sambacounda; now, the latest one is that of Talicourtou, in Senegal. All projects are designed to be highly sustainable and aimed at creating awareness on the management of the now rare water resource and creating self-sufficiency, i.e. self-management of the projects. These wells, in fact, are built by exclusively local laborer and managed by a specially trained and created

committee of beneficiaries, who are in charge of maintenance and data collection that provide crucial information for assessing the long-term impact of the project. The participation of the beneficiary community in all phases of the project (implementation, construction, management) is a key factor in creating ownership and accountability, i.e. social and economic sustainability.

This latest well project in Talicourtou allows a community of over 2,000 people to have free drinking water every day and thus reduce the risks of infections and diseases especially for the most vulnerable such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. Without this well, in fact, the community drinks water contaminated by anthropogenic and environmental phenomena, and given the poverty conditions (98% of households), the cost of bottled water is unsustainable.

Given the location of the well, i.e. on a thoroughfare to 6 other villages, another 3,000 inhabitants qualify as indirect beneficiaries.

Construction is carried out using an innovative totally dry system, i.e. a metal formwork made of interwoven iron and metal profiles that form a gabion that is filled with stones, available in the village itself. The roof has been built with local wood duly composted to create a truss with a double slope and orientation required to optimize the accumulation of solar energy.

Once the pump is activated, the water, which flows through a decontamination filter, is collected in sterilized tanks and divided into a high quality drinking water and a waste water for secondary uses. The overall objective of the organisation is to create a network of wells with the same system (but different architectures to make them recognizable) and calibrated according to user and forage depth.

Once this network is in place, a community of about 40,000 people will be able to have free drinking water and the impact on public health will be considerable. A key aspect of the organisation is that it does not rely on any public funding, therefore the wells are financed exclusively by private donations.

Its supporters come from Italy, Brazil, Poland, the United States, Japan and many other countries around the world. This feature allows for the promotion of a culture of solidarity in which several individuals work together for a common goal.

Balouo Salo, however, is not only working on this programme, but is currently in the process of renovating schools and medical wards, building educational centres, constructing houses for women to promote women's empowerment and facilities to combat child malnutrition. Each Balouo Salo project is assessed according to the needs and priorities for intervention and designed to optimize its impact.

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