Many rural villages in the region have no access to clean water, which presents huge health risks from debilitating diseases that significantly reduce the productivity for farming, as well as school attendance among children. The distance to water also increases labor and time spent by girls and women to collect water for household use. TLC will address this problem by introducing covered shallow wells, each equipped with a hand pump that is easy to install and maintain by the villagers. The cost of a pump and its installation for a shallow well is approximately $1500 with transport, staff supervision, cement and local materials. The total cost of a borehole, which requires a drilling rig, is approximately $10,000.
Related to safe water is ecological sanitation to reduce health risks. The arborloo system of eco-sanitation eliminates the need for the handling of composted excreta, which often presents a barrier to adoption. The technology involves digging a pit 1 m deep by 60 cm in diameter, covered with a dome-shaped concrete slab. Slabs can be built by village artisans after undergoing training with TLC staff. The cost of a slab is $5. A temporary structure is erected around the latrine for privacy. After use, a handful of wood ash mixed with soil (from a pail kept inside the latrine) is dropped into the pit to speed up fecal decomposition and to reduce odor and flies which spread disease. The pit has a retention time of 6-9 months. Thereafter, the concrete cover is moved to a new pit, along with the structure around it. The old pit is then covered with soil and left for a period of 9 months. The waste can be used safely as manure for growing fruit trees or vegetables. This practice is not yet socially accepted in many African cultures, but advances are being made in this direction as many farmers are planting fruit trees on old pit sites.