Jan 25, 2018

Water and so much more - HOPE's Sustainable Approach

Training future Water Caretakers
Training future Water Caretakers

The community in Alugude & Durbe is anxiously awaiting the start of the construction of the new water system that will transform the lives of the 1,986 people who live there.  Not only will their days not be dominated by the search for water, which is currently 3-4 hours away by foot, but they will also not live in fear that the water they are drinking, cooking and cleaning with will be contaminated, leaving them and their loved ones with a deadly disease.  The arrival of safe, clean water just minutes from their homes will change the way they live forever and will significantly improve the health of the community.

Whilst access to clean water is our primary aim, HOPE’s projects are not just about water infrastructure. Community mobilisation for the construction and on-going maintenance of the water system is a vital part of bringing about the long-lasting change and wider benefits that clean water offers. Project activities therefore also include establishing and equipping a Water Committee that will manage the project infrastructure after the project is completed. HOPE facilitates the election of this Water Committee (a 50/50 mixed gender group) and appointment of ten Water Caretakers (5 men and 5 women) who are trained while taking part in the actual construction process. These two groups are vital for the project’s sustainability, ensuring they are not reliant on HOPE or another organisation, but they know how to help themselves and have the knowledge to improve their own lives. Additionally, in a patriarchal society where women are not usually given a voice or positions of leadership, this model starts to challenge gender norms and offer opportunities for women to play a fuller role in decision-making.

Related to this, HOPE plans to also teach 200 of the neediest local women in Alugude & Durbe, who volunteer to be part of a Self Help Group (SHG), the importance of saving money and methods to do so. The project will equip them with skills to start and maintain small businesses which will be seed-funded through loans from their SHG. This will also provide an ongoing structure for these 200 women to receive community support and increased leadership opportunities, thus building confidence and empowerment.  This is another significant component of our sustainable approach.

Beyond the formal end of HOPE’s Alugude & Durbe Water & Sanitation Project in May 2020, the benefits will be realised over the long-term.  In other similar projects, HOPE's end surveys evidence economic improvement; improved relationships; increased self-confidence among women; and improved gender relations. Therefore, access to clean water is only the starting point a different future, but this is dependent upon HOPE's commitment to ensuring sustainability.  

To demonstrate this, we encourage you to watch two 20 minute films, made in 2016 and 2017 by a Canadian film crew who volunteered their services to capture the impact of HOPE’s work in Ethiopia. To watch these, follow the link below to our website.

Thank you for your support of this project.  Please tell others about HOPE's sustainable approach.  

HOPE
HOPE's staff member provides training to an SHG

Links:

Nov 6, 2017

Water has arrived and the system is theirs!

The joy of clean water!
The joy of clean water!

Each of the 2,400 inhabitants of Mela Gagula is celebrating because clean water has now arrived in their village!  They are so thankful!

Four springs have been capped.  Two reservoirs have been constructed.  Nearly six kilometres of pipeline has been laid.  Ten water points have been built and nine water basins are available for use.  Vitally their water fetching time has been reduced from 3-4 hours to less than 15 minutes.  This leaves time for the children to attend school and their parents to earn money to support their families. They now have one of the life's most essential needs and they are starting to see positive results; there is time and energy to plan for the future!

In addition, each of the 480 households in Mela Gagula has now received health, hygiene and sanitation education.  These have taken place in large community meetings, and HOPE staff members have also visited each home to provide training.  This has taught families the need for digging a pit latrine and managing a waste area to prevent the spread of germs.  They have also been shown how to construct hand washing stations and kitchen utensil drying racks.  Many households are already benefitting from the water overflow from the taps for their kitchen gardens and are growing a greater variety of nutritious vegetables and fruits.  As a result, their health is already improving and there are fewer reported incidences of diarrhoea, other waterbourne diseases and eye infections.  

Twelve self-help groups have also been created for 240 women from Mela Gagula to teach them basic business skills.  These women are now starting to save small amounts of money weekly and are increasing their entrepreneurial capacity so that they might start income generating activities to benefit their families.  The groups are learning the principles of lending money to one another to fund these small business start-ups.  It is reported that social relationships are strengthening and the self-confidence of the women is growing.  

Many of these women are keen to report to HOPE's Programme Manager what they have learnt.  "I now have an incredible knowledge about how to protect my family from disease.  I have learnt about the importance of building a pit latrine, and about personal and environmental sanitation.  I have gained experience on how to support my family and now I’m equipped to start a sustainable and profitable business.  I can now lead an effective and joyful life."

The Mela Gagula community has been fully involved from the outset of the project and throughout the stages of implementation. Like all of HOPE's projects, an emphasis was placed on close cooperation and collaboration with the community, ensuring a hands-on ownership of the project by the local men and women. Throughout its 30 years of working in the region, HOPE has found this level of community involvement to be vital in ensuring long-term sustainability.   The local community agreed to provide labour and local materials for the construction of the project and now they are taking full responsibility for the installed system, along with on-going support from the local government.   Water caretakers have been empowered through thorough training and a Water Committee has been appointed to manage the system for the future. Therefore, an official handover ceremony, which took place last week, is an essential marker so that the community knows the system is now their responsibility and the benefits of having access to clean water is in their capable hands.  

Whilst the water system is now in full use and the ownership of the system belongs to the community, a HOPE staff member will continue to live in the community for another 21 months.  Their role is to continue facilitating the self-help groups for the women, ensuring new businesses are started and money is being generated.  They will also continue to provide support to the locally appointed health educators, who will continue to guide the community in their learning of new behaviours to benefit their health.  The two-year commitment by HOPE to have a staff member present in the community is now a requirement of the Ethiopian government.

Thank you for contributing to a new future for this community of 2,400 people.  

HOPE UK is now raising funds for a water system in another rural Ethiopian village.  Would you consider also supporting our life-changing work in that community of 1,986?  To make a donation, follow this link.

Also, if you would like to receive HOPE's regular newsletter (4-5 times a year), please send us your details so we can add you to our email list.  Please email us at admin@hope-international.org.uk.  We'd love to hear from you!

 

The handover of the system to the community
The handover of the system to the community
Water - the catalyst of change!
Water - the catalyst of change!
Water - less than 15 minutes from home!
Water - less than 15 minutes from home!
A wonderful celebration of clean water!
A wonderful celebration of clean water!

Links:

Nov 1, 2017

Mud! Mud! Everywhere is mud!

Girl fetching water from existing spring
Girl fetching water from existing spring

In the past few months in the ward of Alugube and Durbe, which is a collection of six smaller villages, there has been an unseasonably large amount of rain.  The weather has caused many of the existing paths and roads to wash away and there have been greater challenges reaching the few local sources of water.  These streams and rivers, which are normally 3-4 hours away by foot, have taken longer to reach as a result, as paths are slippery and extremely muddy!  Whilst the 'water' is plentiful, it is dirty, cloudy and polluted with debris that has slid into the natural sources from the surrounding terrain due to the heavy rain.  These circumstances have made the desire for local, clean water greater than ever before.

Ideally, every family would instead collect the rain in buckets and makeshift water buts as an alternative to women and girls spending many hours of their days collecting water.  This would be the best scenario to also prevent them from making a dangerous journey where mud slides and flooding are also possibilites.  However, due to the very low standard of living, many families do not have many (if any) extra buckets and large bottles that they can collect rain water in.  Historically most of the families in Alugude and Durbe instead spend much of their limited money on medicines when their family members have fallen ill from drinking contaminated water from polluted sources.  Few have had the opportunity to buy needed materials, tools or life-improving items, in anticipation of these increasingly challenging rainy periods.  Each day is spent just surviving, and there is little energy left to plan for the future.

Desperation is growing for the day when HOPE's staff and lorries arrive with the materials needed to build a new water system for their community.  April 2018 is the time that has been set for this life-changing work to start.  This is dependant upon the rain ceasing so that the community can first build a road that can support the weight of the lorries.  Money is also necessary before the work with start.  This is a policy of HOPE to ensure that each project can start with the confidence that each project can also finish!  The community deserves this assurance.

Like much of the world, unseasonal weather patterns are also becoming more common throughout Ethiopia.  Unpredictability is the only thing that is certain.  The budget for this project, however, is a definite.  Like all of HOPE's projects, three different suppliers have submitted quotes for the materials and HOPE's project manager has determined the best cost and supplier for each item.   The full budget is then drawn up, along with the agreement of the local community to contribute labour and local materials (sand, wood, etc.), which is approximately 10% of the total budget.  The remaining money will need to be raised over the next six months if the current plans are to go ahead.

HOPE UK is pursing a variety of fundraisers to ensure that this community of 1,986 can improve the quality of their lives and has a source of safe, local water.  Thank you for your donation and playing your part in this life-changing water project.  We, and that community, are grateful.  Help us to invite others to join this worthwhile pursuit!

Oner of their existing sources of water
Oner of their existing sources of water

Links:

 
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