Well brings clean water, new hope to 300 people

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Ensure women's sustainable access to water and sanitation

posted Sep 25, 2013 by Alyssa Tartaglione

With support from Catapult and matching funds from Johnson & Johnson, Water.org and its local partner, the Relief Society of Tigray (REST), have completed construction of a well in the Ganta-Afeshum Wereda of Ethiopia. In this area, women and children often walk two or more hours each day across steep, rugged terrain to collect water from polluted rivers. Most families are forced to survive on a strict ration of about five liters of water per day.

Water.org and REST have successfully built a community well in this area, bringing 300 people reliable access to safe water. As a result, local residents, including women and children who are primarily tasked with gathering water, are safer and have more time to work, rest, or go to school. In addition to this new water point, Water.org established and trained a gender-balanced, six-person water and sanitation committee on how to maintain the water point. This training included hand pump maintenance, understanding the spare parts and their uses, and how to repair the pump. Water.org and REST also delivered hygiene and sanitation education training to community members, who in turn focused on awareness-raising within the community on topics including:

  • Using clean cups that have been washed
  • Hand-washing before meals & after using the bathroom
  • Keeping livestock separate from the home & maintaining a clean living space
  • Other barriers to improving sanitation and protecting safe water points as identified by participants

Risks and challenges

The main challenge faced in this project was identifying the best location for the well. For the location, the original target area in Tselim Ela proved to be too dry. As a result, a new location in the village of Endagewergis was selected. While initial surveys identify potential sites, those locations sometimes need to change when explored fully. This program reinforced the importance of being flexible during the implementation, scheduling time for full site evaluations, and making contingency plans.

Get personal

Water = Education for Diana and Samrawit

Diana and Samrawit are young girls living in the mountainous village of Haben Tabia. The two girls, in grades 7 and 8 respectively, used to often miss classes because they had to collect water for their families. Without a water source in their village, they had to walk almost an hour each day to get unsafe water in a nearby village. Then REST and Water.org installed a water connection in their village. Now they walk less than 400 meters to get safe water for their families. This means the girls miss less school, have more time to study, and are less likely to be victims of violence while out walking alone. “We collect water whenever we want and do not even think about collecting water since it is very near to our houses. This helps us a lot in following our education properly and obtaining a good result in our class,” one of the girls said. “This allows us to have more time to help our parents doing house chores and study as well.”

Next steps

All activities have been completed successfully, thank you to everyone for your support!

Budget

All funding has been spent to date and all activities executed.

Additional resources

Other stories and updates about our work in Ethiopia are available here: http://water.org/recent-posts/?country=ET&media=

  • Food & water

Tigray is one of the most drought prone regions in Ethiopia. Less than half of the people living there can access clean water.

Why we care: In Tigray, women and children often walk two or more hours each day across rugged terrain to collect water from polluted rivers for their families.

How we’re solving this: Water.org has launched a new program with a local partner, the Relief Society of Tigray (REST) to build community wells in the area.

Water.org began working in Ethiopia in 2004. Since then, it has worked successfully with local communities, reaching more than 100,000 people with access to safe water, health and hygiene education, and sanitary toilets.

Your support for this project will go toward building and maintaining one community well in the community of Tselim Ela. Currently, women and children are walking two hours round-trip to collect unsafe water from a river. This project will:

  • Serve approximately 300 people, giving them reliable access to safe water
  • Establish and train a six-person committee to serve as the primary managers and promote health and sanitation education
  • Provide hygiene and sanitation education to two health extension workers
  • Conduct surveys and focus groups pre- and post- program intervention stages to measure program impacts

The community will contribute to the program through the provision of labor, construction materials, well user fees, and management of the completed water points. Water.org will work with local water and health government offices to support the communities once the project ends and to monitor village health. Water-quality tests will also be completed at the site.

Budget

  • Program activities (construction of water systems, community mobilization, training, and hygiene education): $8,195
  • Monitoring and evaluation: $2,193
  • Water.org admin and governance: $1,154 
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