If You Want To Go Far, Go Together
Last week I visited Nigeria for the first time since November 2019 (go here to see pictures). Since 2017 I have visited Nigeria every six to nine months; however, due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19, my travel routine has been turned on its head (I am not unique in this). Though I haven't visited Nigeria in nearly three years, the work has not stopped. Since the last trip, we have completed 25 water projects in Nasarawa state Nigeria, a noteworthy accomplishment.
As is the case with most accomplishments, this accomplishment was not due to the work of any person or group; instead, it resulted from consistent, dependable partnership. This partnership flows in multiple directions. There is the partnership between Partners For Water and our donors/supporters, who provide the resources to fund the projects we engage. Simultaneously Partners For Water is partnering with Chuga and Friends Foundation (CFF), a Nigerian NGO that leads and manages all of our water projects in Nigeria. A loud shout out to the CFF team for making this happen; none of this is possible without them.
Out of the 25 new projects, I was able to visit 20 during my visit. To say I was blown away at the quality of the work and the life-changing impact clean water has made in each community would be an understatement. While visiting these communities, I paid particular attention to the children, who will never know what it is like to drink water from a filthy stream or share their water with animals.
In pondering this impact, the fact that each partner stakeholder (be it those who provide resource support or those who provide project management and administrative support) is a vital link in the chain that enables this change is not lost on me. This cooperation reminds me of the African Proverb, "if you want to go far, go together." The way our collaborative partnership has spanned across the Atlantic Ocean and two continents epitomizes the principle of collective strength and going far together.
During my time on the ground in Nigeria (which was way too short), I met with the CFF water development leadership team to discuss how we optimize our practices to improve and maximize our efficiency continuously. The team came up with some excellent ideas related to inspection, maintenance, and community selection, all of which will enhance water system reliability and sustainability.
As we head into the final stretch, I am excited at the projects on deck (at least three and hopefully five) and am ecstatic to be a part of whatever is next in this fantastic adventure!