Global Brigades is an international non-profit that empowers communities to meet their health and economic goals through university volunteers and local teams.
The largest student-led movement for global health
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What is the objective of Water Brigades?
The objective of Water Brigades is to unite students and under-resourced communities to develop and implement clean water projects through community assessment, water quality monitoring, water treatment, infrastructural development, community leader training, and hygiene, sanitation and water education
What major need is Water Brigades is addressing?
In the rural communities where Global Brigades works, families often have little or no access to sufficient quality nor quantity of water. Without sufficient clean water, the health of entire communities is affected, since water is fundamental for everyday activities including drinking, cooking, cleaning, and maintaining personal and household hygiene. The goal of Water Brigades is to connect students with communities to implement sustainable, community-based solutions to address these dire water needs.
Who gets involved in Water Brigades?
Volunteers of all interests and academic disciplines are encouraged to participate in Water Brigades. Passion and dedication are the most important requirements for our brigaders.
Do I need engineering or construction experience?
None at all. While volunteers with experience or backgrounds in engineering will surely find the hands-on experience of a brigade to be a valuable opportunity, Water Brigades are designed for people with any and all areas of expertise to be able to fully engage in the implementation of a community’s water solution.
How are projects/communities chosen?
We concentrate on communities with an established Global Brigades presence in order to take advantage of our already established reputation. From there, we use data collected by our research and evaluation team to identify new community water projects based on their water needs.
What does the Water Brigades Team do to prepare for a Water Brigade?
The centralized water systems built by Water Brigades require a lot of preparation prior to volunteers arriving in country for the brigade. The Water Brigades Team spends several months working with community members to assess community water needs, design the new system that will meet those needs, collect and transport all necessary tools and materials, and coordinate community leadership to help facilitate the proper implementation and maintenance of the project.
What does a community do to prepare for a Water Brigade?
Several weeks in advance, the community engages in a number of activities to prepare for a Water Brigade. These activities include, but are not limited to, establishing a new Water Council and Basic Sanitation Committee, clearing areas for construction of the new system, organizing work groups, and collecting the necessary tools and other materials available in the community. They also fit their brigade project into their daily work schedules and balance it with commitments to other Global Brigades disciplines present in the community.
What does a student do on a Water Brigade?
A student’s Water Brigade experience includes hands-on construction and implementation of a section of the community’s new water system, interaction and cultural exchange with community members, meeting with the Water Council and the Basic Sanitation Committee, and designing and presenting an educational component to community members.
What does the community do on a Water Brigade?
The community is an integral part to every Water Brigade. Whether it is preparing for or helping with construction alongside students or welcoming students into their homes, community members are involved in every aspect of a Water Brigade. Members of the community also complete trainings and form a fully functioning Water Council and Basic Sanitation Committee that help ensure the sustainability of the water project.
How are the Junta de Agua/ Water Council and Comité de Saneamiento Básico/ Basic Sanitation Committee formed and who sits on them?
Members of both the Water Council and the Basic Sanitation Committee are democratically elected by the rest of the community at a general community meeting. While the Water Brigades Team provides training and technical assistance, community members are fully responsible for the formation and continued functions of both committees.
How is the water system maintained after Water Brigade leaves the community?
Before leaving a community, Water Brigades ensures that the Water Council, plumber, technicians and masons are fully trained in operation, maintenance and administration of the new water system. Additionally, in Honduras each household that is connected to the new water system pays a monthly water fee to ensure the amount is sufficient sustain the system. The Water Council collects and tracks these payments and uses the money to maintain the system, purchase chlorine for water treatment, pay the plumber, and finance any repairs for problems that may arise in the future.
What does a student do to prepare for a Water Brigade?
For all brigade planning tools, volunteers should visit the Volunteer Resource Site. For Water Brigades specifics, please see “What to Expect on Your Water Brigade.” Be sure to reference the Water Pre-Brigade Curriculum.
Is there a minimum or maximum number of volunteers for groups?
For University Chapters, there is a minimum 15 volunteers. To fairly serve a community’s needs, this number is non-negotiable. There is no maximum volunteer number. Non-University Chapters- please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where do the funds I raise go?
Volunteers work together with their chapter to fundraise for their individual water brigade: construction supplies, equipment, local masons, translators, support staff, ground transportation, food, lodging, and emergency medical insurance. Airfare not included.
Is this safe?
The safety of the student volunteers is Global Brigades’ number one priority and is the single most important consideration when entering a community or choosing a project. Each country that Global Brigades serves in has implemented safety protocols and policies to decrease any risk of danger and to ensure that any emergency can be properly handled in a prompt and professional manner. For more information on safety precautions, emergency procedures and insurance information, please visit Safety and Insurance on the Volunteer Resource Site.
This sounds great. How do I get involved?
First, find out if your school has a Water Brigades Chapter by searching for you school on the Chapters page. If your school does not have a Chapter, fill out the interest form and you will be connected with a Chapter Advisor.