“I can’t compare it, for the difference is huge,” says Fetiya, a mother of three in Ethiopia. ”I used to get water from a distant, unprotected spring after walking about 30 minutes. And sometimes when I got busy, I fetched water from an unclean river relatively close to my house. Hence, my kids suffered from recurrent water-borne diseases like typhoid and diarrhea.
“But after FH-Sasiga project built the well near my house, I started to walk only three minutes to get clean water, and all the stress of finding clean water is gone. My kids’ health has tangibly improved. My husband is always busy working on farm field. I myself participated in the water-construction work campaign by clearing the site and collecting stones.
“I am extremely happy with the result of water work program of the project,” she says.
In the past five years, FH has constructed 22 clean-water points for nine communities in this part of Ethiopia. Six of the water points were protected springs — natural springs that needed to be protected from animals and other contaminants — and the other 16 were dug wells like the one in the photo above. These clean-water points have had immediate, radical, life-changing (and life-saving) implications for those who rely on them.
- More time: Instead of trekking very long distances to a water point, waiting in line for two hours, lugging 40 pounds of water home, and having aching legs at the end of it all, women and children now can walk just five or 10 minutes to collect water for the day. They’ll have more time for school, work and recreation.
- Better health: Now, there will be no reason for Fetiya or her neighbors to drink dirty water. Everyone will be healthier, kids won’t have to miss school as much due to illness, and the social and economic status of these communities will be raised.
- Community ownership: While FH provided necessary funding, engineering knowledge and oversight of these clean-water projects, community members did all the construction of the wells (as Fetiya mentions above). They banded together and formed plans for the management of the clean-water points, selecting attendants and forming water committees.
- Long-term solutions: FH adequately trained water-committee members on the proper maintenance of these water points so they can continue to provide fresh, healthy water long after FH is gone.
Clean water can mean a whole new chance at life for someone who has suffered for so long without it. It’s a simple thing that has far-reaching, long-lasting benefits.
YOU can help give clean water to families who need it by joining the Poverty 180: Water cause.