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.
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.
Good news! Work is commencing on the Alugude and Durbe Water System! The six small villages that will benefit from the Alugude and Durbe Water System will soon have access to clean water just minutes from their home.
Firstly, the spring will be capped and a 30m3 water tank will be built to serve the villages. Then 5.15 km of trenches will be dug between the fresh water source and the community and pipes will be laid to carry the clean water to the eight new water points using a gravity-fed system. To achieve this, the whole community will get involved - with the guidance of HOPE staff - digging, carrying, transporting, and so on. For this particular project, the construction of the water system will take three months. HOPE staff are estimating that the taps will be turned on in early July 2018. However, the investment in this community of 1,986 will carry on for another 21 months as health education will continue, as well as the facilitation of Self Help Group business training for 200 women.
In all of HOPE's work, we place a high value on monitoring and evaluation activities and are committed to being a learning organisation, constantly seeking ways to improve and have a bigger impact. Monitoring and evaluation is performed on our projects internally by the HOPE Ethiopia staff and primary users, and the results are shared with all stakeholders. Day-to-day monitoring of the project involves the community's own locally appointed Water Committee. They collect information about the state of the water system and its effect on the community - e.g. leaking taps, erosion near the source or any related hygienic or health issues within the community - and then take the appropriate action. At the end of the project, there will be a comprehensive review of the new water system by various Ethiopian government departments, including water, the mining and energy department, the zonal finance and economic development, the zonal health department, the energy and economic development office, the finance and economic development office and the local ward health office.
In conclusion, it is universally agreed that each community should own the development activities taking place in their village. It will be essential that the community of Alugude and Durbe can run the interventions by themselves after HOPE staff have moved on. Their active participation in the water system’s construction - which is starting now - and their level of adoption for the system and its maintenance will ensure its sustainability. For this reason, HOPE will provide much training for the soon-to-be appointed Water Caretakers, who be taught the technical aspects of how to maintain their water system, and HOPE will also provide them each with simple maintenance tools so they are equipped to do so.
Each HOPE water project intends to change the primary users’ way of life, saving them time, encouraging changes in hygiene behavior, and so on. The community of Alugude and Durbe is ready for this to happen and are prepared to embrace the benefits of access to clean water, whilst knowing the responsibility of maintaining and looking after the system for years to come.
Thank you again for your support of this project. You have positively changed lives.
If you desire to help bring clean water to another village, do consider supporting our next project In Chano Dorga as well. http://globalgiving.org/projects/help-hope-bring-clean-water-to-chano-dorga