Once approved, all HydrateLife projects start with a survey of the community. One component of this survey is interviewing members of the community to help HydrateLife understand the makeup of the community, their culture and values, and what aspirations they have for the project.
Interview questions can include asking community members about the makeup of their household, about the health of the people in their household, and about the community, to more broad questions, such as what are their ambitions for the future. In addition to interviewing individuals, community interviews are held, including women only interviews.
At the same time interviews are taking place, the entire community and any infrastructure or resources will be mapped out. This is done with a process called participatory mapping which includes the community in the process, and can be done either by walking with a few members of the community and having them point out important resources or infrastructure, or by having the community come together and draw out the map as a group.
These maps are very important for many reasons. They serve to show HydrateLife what, if any, water and sanitation infrastructure already exists in the community. The maps can also show land ownership boundaries so if we’re installing infrastructure, such as piping, we will know who to talk to, or areas we need to avoid. The locations of water collection points, where people go to the bathroom, agricultural areas, and livestock will also be labeled. These maps will be instrumental in developing a solution that will work for the entire community.