DEC member Tearfund is working via local partner Water is Life using funds raised from the East Africa Crisis Appeal to provide safe drinking water for local communities in southern Ethiopia.
Tearfund is drilling 27 wells for communities in the Miyo and Dire districts, each one providing water for roughly 500 local people. The work is done in partnership with the communities through water user committees which include a majority of women as they traditionally are the ones who fetch water for the household.
The DEC visited Meti village, near the town of Hide in Miyo District to see one of the wells in action and speak with local people about its impact. Medina (pictured), 56, a member of the water users committee in Meti told the DEC that:
“Before the drought we had 50 cattle and life was good. Now we have five left. We lost our cattle and we might have lost our lives too but for the aid from different agencies and the government which allowed us to survive.
“The best things about the well are that it is close and the water is pure. We used to walk two kilometres to another village to fetch water that wasn’t even clean. Often we had no drinking water for the children and could not even wash their faces before they went to school. All the children suffered from diahorrea. No one died in my family but other families lost children to diseases they caught from the dirty water.
“Now things are getting better, we don’t get diseases from the dirty water, the children have clean water to drink and can take clean water in a bottle with them to school. Previously we walked for one and half hours to collect dirty water but now it takes only 30 minutes and we get clean water. Because it took so long to collect water I did not have enough time to cook for my family, take the cattle to pasture and clean the home but now I have time to do these things for my children and family.
“I would like to thank those people who gave the money for this project and to bless them in the name of God.”
Water is Life is aiming to drill one well a week and when they are all done 13,500 people will be able to use them to get safe drinking water. In addition there will be self-help groups established that will provide peer to peer health and hygiene training.
This work to provide the wells is funded by the donations DEC supporters gave to the East Africa Crisis Appeal, and along with our other member agencies Tearfund will continue to spend funds over the next year to help those most affected by the 2011 drought.