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Oct 17, 2018

Let clean water flow!!

Clean water has arrived in the six small villages that make up HOPE's recent Alugude & Durbe Water and Sanitation Project.  The eight new water points are now all flowing with clean water, giving local people full access to ample water just minutes from their homes, eliminating lengthy, and often dangerous, daily walks for water.  Thank you for supporting this project!!!

Life now is changing in these villages.  When people had to fetch water from springs or rivers far from their homes, the amount of water they could use per day was limited.  This hindered people from thoroughly washing their hands and bodies, cleaning their crockery and cutlery, laundering their clothes, growing food to eat that needed additional water and providing enough water for their animals to live healthily as well.  Now, however, fetching water is much easier and quicker, so the amount of water for daily use is also being increased.  This already has had a positive impact on the health of the community.

HOPE's involvement with the Alugude & Durbe's communities does not end with the construction of water system.  The second, and very crucial, component of the project is to check and follow-up that every household understands how to fully benefit from life with clean water.  HOPE staff are, therefore, conducting household visits to teach basic health and sanitation habits.  These include simple changes that can protect their health, like washing one's hands after returning from work, using drying racks for crockery and utensils, etc. These behaviours are not intuitive if you have never had access to clean water.  This health and sanitation education will continue for two years, as requested by the local Ethiopian government.  

In addition, there is much activity with the women in Alugude & Durbe who have volunteered to be part of a Self Help Group (SHG) of 20 women each.  This third component of the project is about targeting the poorest women in the community, teaching them basic business skills so that they can earn needed money for their families.  It is about working with women, who are most likely illiterate because they were unable to attend school as they were daily collecting water instead, and who have had few opportunities or encouragement to take any initiative in earning needed money and have had little voice in their community or families.  These women meet weekly to learn new skills together about starting small businesses, but also crucially about saving money and then collectively lending money to one another to start those small businesses.  Since 2015, when HOPE started this third component to our projects, women entered the project fearful, without skills or support, and with time became confident businesswomen. We are expecting this same change amongst the women in Alugude & Durbe.  

SHGs have also been a launch pad for women to increase their voice and role in their communities and have contributed towards the improvement of gender equality. In other villages, HOPE has seen how these groups have equipped women, who in a patriarchal society have previously had little role, with the means and skills necessary to help themselves out of poverty.  No longer are they needing to spend multiple hours each day sourcing water and often looking after family members when they are ill from a waterborne disease, instead they are earning money and developing a significant role in their communities.  These groups have started in Alugude & Durbe and women are now saving money weekly, most for the first time, and investing much of their newly available time in the SHG training.  There is much energy being invested in changes that will positive impact their future.

HOPE UK is now beginning to raise money for our next project, in the village of Chano Dorga.  This is a community of 3,942 who have been waiting for many years for HOPE to start working with them to bring clean, safe water to their village.  As this project is larger than normal, we need your help!  Click here if you would like to donate to this next life-changing project.  

Thank you again for your support of HOPE's work.

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Jul 20, 2018

Countdown to clean water in Chano Dorga

The current source of water
The current source of water

A colleague was in Ethiopia in February, visiting HOPE's field staff and showing an investor in HOPE's work two villages, one with clean water and another that is still waiting.  When they arrived in Chano Dorga, village leaders met them as they got out of one of HOPE's vehicles.  They had heard the 4x4 coming and were hoping it was good news to tell them that work would soon be starting to build them a source of clean water access, just minutes from their home.  Too many of their inhabitants had suffered from waterborne diseases due to drinking contaminated water and they were desperate to work with HOPE to build a gravity-fed system that would cap two springs and fed the protected, clean water via pipes laid the lengthy distance of 14.3 km!  They offered their support of local materials and countless hours of labour to HOPE staff, in return for their expertise, training and commitment to bring clean water to their doorsteps.  They were desperate!

They then asked my colleague whether he would like to see their current source of their water.  He agreed to walk with them the 3-4 hours to the river which local women and girls are currently visiting daily.  When they finally arrived, after a long and demanding journey on foot, there were five groups already there.  A few men were bathing themselves upstream, while two young women were washing their clothing.   There was also a group of cows there, drinking from the river, and generally standing in the water to cool themselves off whilst relieving themselves.  Two men had wheeled a cart into the water to clean it after a long journey to the market, while two more men washed their prized motorbike.  They scrubbed the mud and oil off, intending to ride the bike further to source medication from the nearest town for their ill family member.  All of these groups were using the same source of water, one feeding into the other, ultimately contaminating the water that we were collecting to take back to the village for drinking and cooking.

This was heart-breaking for my colleague.  He quickly saw how easy it was for an open source of water to be polluted and also how great the need was to provide safe, clean water to a community that presently is taking a risk every time they drink.  

Thank you for supporting HOPE's efforts to bring clean water to these people.  Thank you for supporting us in an ambitious project that will change their lives forever. Thank you for sharing hope.

Washing clothes in Chano Dorga
Washing clothes in Chano Dorga
Village leaders express their commitment
Village leaders express their commitment
Jul 19, 2018

Work is nearly complete ... clean water to flow!

Laying the foundations for the new water point
Laying the foundations for the new water point

The taps will soon be turned on in Alugude & Durbe!  Clean, safe water will soon flow from the eight newly installed water points in the villages, now just minutes from their home.  This will be life changing for that community, allowing their time to instead be spent in school and earning needed money for their families.  Never before has the future looked so bright for these 1,986 people!

After the construction is completed, in addition to providing basic business skills to 200 women, the focus of the project will be on health and sanitation education.  HOPE's Community Mobiliser will continue to support and facilitate the locally appointed Community Health Workers, who will visit different households each day and regularly follow-up to ensure that habits are changing and their health is improving as a result.  Their overall purpose is to bring an end to illnesses that have caused much distress and uncertainty for these families.  All have suffered from diarrhea and stomach aches on frequent occasions and sadly, many families have also had a child die due to contracting a waterborne disease.  In any month, one of two family members were often sick, sometimes lasting as long as a week.  This meant much time was spent being ill or taking care of those who were and little work was able to be done.  In addition, often the little money each family has was spent on medication.  Often, they would get better, only to drink the unsafe water again, and get sick all over.  Unfortunately, their livestock and animals are often ill too, for the same reasons.  

Learning about sanitation is essential.  HOPE staff teach about methods of handling water safely at every step of the chain, during collection, transport, storage and use.  They provide guidance on constructing hand-washing stations near food preparation areas and near their newly built latrine.  Like others in rural Ethiopia, prior to this training, many people from Alugude & Durbe were not aware of germs and how diseases are spread.  Often there are cultural habits that are deeply embedded that need to be challenged.  For example, in this region it is not uncommon to have the same living space for animals and people.  It is assumed that animals will keep the family warm at night and that they will benefit from the breath of the humans. Families feared that if animals were kept separate, their health would suffer and they would be less productive.  Moreover, when cows, for example, bring mud in the homes on their feet and tails, filth can be spread around the floor and walls and leave germs.  In addition, often animals defecate and urinate in the same space where families sleep and eat, further spreading germs. HOPE staff have explained this to the local people.  As a result, many families in Alugude & Durbe now have a barrier for the animals to remain separate from the humans or have built separate homes for them entirely.  Many have been surprised that the animals did not suffer and they realised their homes remained cleaner and family was healthier.  

It is these lessons that will be contributing to a new life in Alugude & Durbe, bringing health and a new future.  Thank you for contributing to this transformation and for giving them a new future!!

If you would like to do the same for the community in Chano Dorga, please follow this link

Laying the foundations for the new water reservoir
Laying the foundations for the new water reservoir
Water caretakers at work, installing the new pipe
Water caretakers at work, installing the new pipe
Example of house with barrier for animals
Example of house with barrier for animals
 
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