What if a drop of investment could unleash a torrent of change? In Tongo Village, girls walk up to 6 miles a day in search of water, missing school and being exposed to sexual violence along the way. Hi, my name is Hawa, I am from Tongo Field, Sierra Leone. I am the founder of Tongo Wata and this was once my reality.
Tongo Wata: A Transformative Social Venture Project Overview Tongo Wata (TW) is a social venture with the potential to transform the lives of village residents in West Africa. We will harness the power of local entrepreneurship and establish a sustainable model for treating and distributing clean water, with an initial focus on Tongo village, Sierra Leone. Our long term goal is to establish a replicable model which can significantly improve the lives of families and girls by providing access to a fundamental human need: safe drinking water.
Background The lack of access to safe drinking water in rural Sierra Leone is a primary contributor to disease, sexual harassment, illiteracy, and serious health problems (e.g. typhoid fever, diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, skin infections, and, indirectly, Malaria), which routinely leads to high mortality rates. I know this first-hand as I grew up in Tongo, a small village with approximately 3,800 residents in eastern Sierra Leone during the eleven-year civil war. During this period, and still to this day, my friends, relatives and I frequently drank contaminated water. There are no companies that treat and distribute clean water in Tongo.
The Problem TW is addressing the lack of access to safe drinking water. Today, many young girls walk more than six miles each day to fetch contaminated water. Families have no other options. This chore results in these girls being late for school and having little time for homework, affecting their academic performance and prospects for social mobility. Many of these girls are routinely assaulted and impregnated by older men who follow them to the well.