Long-Term Sustainability by Stephane Alexandre

by tuftsigl
Sep 17

As we make our way to Thottiyapatti one last time for the trip, I know that there are two major concepts that I will take home with me: long-term sustainability is possible and communication is essential.

After having a meeting with the financial advisor at Payir, our partner NGO near Thottiyapatti , it was decided that the Learning Center coordinators would purchase the necessary materials when needed and BUILD would reimburse Payir. This has been one of the main goals of BUILD: establishing long-term sustainability. It is difficult to wait six months for the trip team to arrive to purchase new books and pencils for the students in the learning center. In the same manner, the maintenance worker will also be able to purchase toilet supplies when needed and BUILD would reimburse Payir.  This is more than a few pencil packs and hand washing soap…this is a victory. This is a stepping stone towards the people of Thottiyapatti obtaining ownership over the Eco Sand Toilet Complex and the Learning Center.

In this trip, we discussed the need for a year round local point person. As students, we can only visit the village about twice a year---and that is not enough. We had meeting with the founders of Payir to further establish this goal. This local intern would oversee our projects on the ground and effectively monitor/evaluate progress, and communicate to the BUILD team at Tufts. Furthermore, this will help strengthen the reality of project ownership because this person would be from Thottiyapatti. This trip has taught me the importance of not losing sight of the community’s ability to work together to meet its own needs in a sustainable way.

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