Safe water and sanitation

Funding required: $60,400

This project will help: 800 individuals, including 227 Compassion beneficiaries

Estimated completion date: October 2022

Country: Togo

Executive summary

Atsave is a small village of 800 inhabitants in Togo with only one water source. In 1982, the government hired people to dig a hand-powered borehole and upgraded it in 1999. This borehole has been the primary source of water in the community. However, in 2014, while trying to drill a second well for the village, the Red Cross Togo conducted a water analysis and discovered the water was contaminated with high levels of nitrate, which is linked to increased risk of esophageal and stomach cancer. The community was advised not to drink the water. However, since the neighbouring village’s water source would be a 2-kilometre trek for children, villagers continue to consume the contaminated water.

After a 2019 study confirmed the high levels of nitrate, our frontline church partner in Atsave began fetching water from the nearby village and purchasing water for children attending the centre. However, drawing large quantities of water from the other village diverts time and funds from investing in the children and their development.

Children and families connected with the Compassion centre in Atsave also have limited access to safe sanitation facilities. In 2013 to 2014, the Red Cross Togo provided the community with 40 latrines. However, most of the facilities are no longer in use due to poor management and maintenance. For this reason, 80 per cent of the population practise open defecation. With no working latrine at or near the Compassion centre, children have no option but to defecate on centre grounds.

Compassion Togo believes that investing in safe water and sanitation for the village of Atsave is a strategic investment that will have long-lasting impact on the health of children and their families. Our church partners want to dig a new solar-powered borehole on a new water table, connected to the local elementary school, Compassion centre and other community access points. They also plan to build working latrines at the Compassion centre, as well as hand washing stations to improve the hygiene and health of the children. Having a safe water source will transform the lives of Atsave’s 800 inhabitants. The 277 children served by the local Compassion centre will also benefit from new latrines and education about good hygiene and sanitation practices.

Did you know?

Groundwater supplies almost half of all drinking water around the world. The water becomes contaminated with nitrate through agricultural practices such as using fertilizer.



Though villagers know their local water source is contaminated with nitrate, many feel they have no option but to keep drinking it. Research shows that water with a nitrate content of more than 50 milligrams/litre is not safe to drink or to use for food preparation. Studies have shown that high levels of nitrate toxicity can increase the risk of cancer of the esophagus and stomach. It can also cause congenital disabilities and thyroid disease and is especially dangerous for babies younger than 6 months old. A 2019 study, conducted at the Compassion centre in Atsave revealed that water from the local well has a nitrate concentration of 147 milligrams/litre. At three times the safe limit of nitrate, Atsave’s water impacts the health of children and their families.

In terms of sanitation, when the public latrine near the Compassion centre broke, our church partner dug a pit latrine for children to use, but that collapsed after one year. On centre days, the children were forced to relieve themselves in public—a practice that not only is unhygienic and unsafe but also robs children of their dignity.

The need

Through this intervention, Compassion Togo and frontline church partners in Atsave will hire experts to construct a new, safe borehole from an uncontaminated water table. The borehole will be drilled in rock and lined with PVC to protect the water from contamination with nitrate or other pollutants. Construction crews will install a plastic water tank system to store precious, clean water. Since there is no access to electricity, a solar panel will power a solar pump to make drawing larger quantities of water easier.

In addition, eight latrines will be built at the Atsave Compassion centre, ensuring that the 277 children attending programs have a safe, clean place to relieve themselves. They will also build a hand washing station at the Compassion centre. Through four education sessions, children and caregivers will learn good hygiene and sanitation practices. With safe drinking water, sanitation services and good hygiene, children and families will be able to prevent illness, maintain their health and restore their dignity as they work to lift themselves out of poverty in Jesus’ name.

What your gift will do

Your gift will provide access to safe water for 800 villagers and sanitation facilities at the Atsave Compassion centre:

  • Borehole construction:
    • Hydrological and geophysical testing
    • Purchase and installation of a PVC casing, gravel filter and clay bed
    • Borehole disinfection
    • Water testing
    • Supplies and installation of a water storage tank system
    • Installation of solar pump, regulator and solar panel
    • Water canalization to extend to Compassion centre and other community sites
  • Construction of 8 block latrines
  • Construction of a concrete stand and hand washing station
  • Education on good hygiene and sanitation practices for 227 beneficiaries and their caregivers
  • 4 hygiene and sanitation education sessions: trainers, snacks and location rental
  • Technical expert and supervisors
  • Monitoring and review meetings


  • Local contribution: US$3,410.12
  • Handling of funds: The frontline church partner will hire an experienced borehole construction company. They will also hire skilled local artisans to build the latrines and hand washing station.
  • Monitoring and follow-up: A committee made up of the pastor, centre director, centre staff and community representatives will oversee the implementation of this intervention. An external supervisor contracted by the church partner will offer technical support. A team from Compassion Togo will also monitor the progress through regular field visits and meetings. Upon completion of the facilities, a committee made up of members from the church and community will be trained to ensure good management and maintenance of the facility.

No less than 80 per cent of your donation will be used for program activities and a maximum of 20 per cent for fundraising and administration. If we exceed our funding goal for the initiative shown, the remaining funds will be used to fund other programs where the need is greatest.