Archive for December, 2008

In August, 2007, Green Empowerment and YAMOG installed a solar-powered water pumping system in the village of Amgu-o, S. Cotabato province, on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines.   Amgu-o is a neatly organized village of about 600 indigenous Bla’an people, plus about 100 students who come to the Amgu-o school on weekdays.

According to village elder Nonobert Malit, the Amgu-o school is the only school in the province which was built and organized by indigenous people, as opposed to a mission or the government.   The self-reliant and proud people of Amgu-o have also built a weaving center, where the few remaining ‘gunmasters’, or weavers skilled in the traditional methods, teach younger volunteers how to work the banana leaf fibers and produce traditional Bla’an patterns.   The community sought and obtain help from YAMOG, which designed and installed the water distribution system thanks to a grant from GVEP (a World Bank institution) and technical assistance from Green Empowerment.

As Nonobert Malit told us in 2007: “In bringing water to our community, you not only bring the water to our doors, you also bring pride and comfort in showing that people from far away care about our lot”.

In June 2008, the pump unfortunately stopped working.  Site visits by YAMOG engineers, and correspondence with the manufacturer established that the failure was due to a lightning strike which had burned crucial components of the electronic controller.   A replacement controller was shipped from Australia, and a plan devised to strengthen overall protection of the installation from lightning.  By happenstance, I was in the region at the right time to participate in the repairs and improvements, so I had a chance to visit the great Amgu-o people again and hear about their feelings about the system, and life in general.

The school teachers were very eager to see the system working again.  They said that during the months when the system was down, kids were late at school and didn’t have as much time to do their homework.

The availability of water in the village is also key to the new sanitation system, as it enable the use of the water-seal latrines.

More stories (with pictures!) when Michel returns . . .


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