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Jan 26, 2017

Clean water arrives and joy follows!

Enjoying clean water!
Enjoying clean water!

In late December, with the help of the local community, HOPE successfully completed the construction of the new water system in Gezesso.  This means that now an additional 2,300 people are drinking, cooking and washing with clean water and are significantly improving the quality of their lives. Much joy has been displayed and expressed amongst a community that until last month, spent most of their days just trying to survive to the next.  Now there is hope for the future and increased energy to plan and invest in their future.  

In Gezesso four springs were capped and a pipe line dug and laid 8 km long, allowing water to flow to three newly built water reservoir tanks and then to 13 new water points and 11 wash basins.  In addition to helping advise on the construction of the water infrastructure, HOPE continues to work with families to educate them on building and using household latrines and practicing basic hygiene and sanitation, such as hand-washing, to help them fully benefit from their new access to a nearby source of clean water. For example, thus far, families have dug and installed 120 pit latrines with technical support from HOPE field staff.  This is an excellent indication that families have embraced the lessons they are learning in their hygiene and health sessions. An additional 144 pit latrines are planned to be built in 2017 as health and sanitation education continues to reach all community members.

Twenty members of the community have been also trained as Water Caretakers to maintain the system’s infrastructure and 40 people have been elected by the community as members of their Water Committee, working together to properly manage the water usage in the community (ensuring that taps stay clean, fences are maintained, water fees are collected and paid, etc.).

This new water system in Gezesso was completed just weeks after the water project in the village of Kalebo Laka (see final report). Both communities are situated near one another and are presently undergoing much positive transformation change.  Health is improving, children are attending school regularly and women are receiving an additional investment of basic business education (see project report).  Similar to Kalebo Laka, a school in Gezesso with 291 pupils now has a water point as well as a local health centre, which services people from the surrounding area and is staffed by local people.  

HOPE has historically seen the beneficiary community take pride in and ownership of their water system after its public handover, due to their personal investment in construction, managing the system (through cleaning and repair) and paying regular, affordable maintenance fees.  Therefore, a 50-year life span for each system is realistic because HOPE uses high quality and durable materials and local people have been trained to appropriately maintain the system for themselves.  Whilst HOPE staff stay in touch and can provide technical and other support as needed, the local government also has an on-going commitment to ensure that clean water continues to flow in villages with recent access to water, like Gezesso.

Thank you again for your support of this project.  If you would like to keep up-to-date with our ongoing investment in rural Ethiopia by receiving HOPE's e-newsletters, please email us at admin@hope-international.org.uk.

We are now turning our attention to our next project in Mela Gagula.  Join us by bringing joy to that community of 2,400 as well.   

Celebrating the arrival of clean water!
Celebrating the arrival of clean water!
Work leads to sustainability!
Work leads to sustainability!
Jan 17, 2017

Water Arrives and Small Businesses Commence

Women gather for the handover ceremony
Women gather for the handover ceremony

Last month clean water arrived in Kalebo Laka!  This means that women no longer need to spend 3-4 hours each day in search of water that is often contaminated and makes them and their family ill.  Instead, each household has safe, clean water just minutes from their home.  To mark this occasion, there was an official handover ceremony where the community agreed to manage and maintain the new system, primarily through the elected Water Committee and trained Water Caretakers, of which 50% are women.  It was a momentous day to celebrate the start of a new way of life, especially for the 873 women of Kalebo Laka.   

Since July 2016, when construction began on the water system, 200 of the neediest women in Kalebo Laka have been receiving training within their designated Self Help Groups (SHGs), learning basic business skills (including entrepreneurship, community organisation, leadership and group dynamics).   They have also been learning about the importance of saving money and methods to do so.  Recording and maintaining sufficient records to keep track of their new savings has been a new skill for many, especially as 90-95% of these women are illiterate. 

It is still early days since their lives have not been dominated by the daily need to source water, but most of the 200 women have now requested a loan from their SHG to start a small business.  Some examples include vegetable farming, sewing and weaving to make clothing and blankets, rearing and fattening animals to then sell at market or to sell their milk to neighbours.  Each of these businesses are revolutionary new beginnings for most of these women to earn money, whilst also having sufficient funds to save money weekly and regularly pay back the interest on their loan from their SHG.

As a result of the support from their SHG and small business ventures, it has been reported that the confidence of women in Kalebo Laka has grown.  Women are now engaging in their community in more vocal and pro-active ways.  Others have reported that they have made strides towards positive change in gender relations in their households.  Almost all the women say they have greater hope for their future.

HOPE is confident that SHGs have already had a dramatic impact on improving the lives of women and their families in Kalebo Laka.  SHGs have purposefully been structured so that long after HOPE support staff have moved on to our next project, local support networks and relationships will remain in tack.  This will allow 200 women to receive community support and opportunities for increased leadership and empowerment for years to come. 

Thank you for your support and investment in these women, whom are now role models in their village and nearby villages as well. Importantly their children now have a different societal model, of which women play a significant and more equal part.  Access to clean water kick-started these changes, but the additional investment of SHGs is bringing fundamental change.

A woman and her daughter grow potatoes to sell
A woman and her daughter grow potatoes to sell
An SHG receiving small business training
An SHG receiving small business training
Women celebrating the arrival of water
Women celebrating the arrival of water
Dec 28, 2016

History has been made! Clean water has arrived!

The taps turn on!!!
The taps turn on!!!

Clean water has arrived in Kalebo Laka!  As a result, the past few weeks have been exciting times in this small, rural village of just 1,729 people!

At the handover ceremony during the first week of December, the community sang, “History has been made! Clean water has arrived!” Members of the elected Water Committee agreed to take over the management and trained Water Caretakers have taken over the maintenance of the new water system, ensuring it will serve the community for many years to come. Everyone knows that the future will be positively different – with improved health, time for schooling and opportunities for income generating activities.

The new local water points have now become a focus for gathering and socializing within the village. Previously, women and children used to walk hours to access water which was often contaminated and made them unwell. Now, safe water can be collected just minutes from their homes and there is also time for talking, chatting and supporting one another.  This has also been seen in previous villages that HOPE has worked in, as access to clean water has brought about improved relationships throughout the village as women have time to support and provide advice to one another.  Similarly, children are increasingly starting to play in their spare time when not attending school.

Health, hygiene and sanitation education has been provided by HOPE staff to each household in the village since the commencement of the Water Project. There have also been local people appointed to assist with this role of championing changed behaviors surrounding hygiene.  This will carry on over the coming months and years. 

In addition to the new Water System, 200 local women in Kalebo Laka are also starting to benefit from additional investment. Self Help Groups have been formed and basic business skills, as well as principles of saving and lending, will be taught so that those women can find increased means to financially contribute to their families and can model and teach their new skills to others in the community.  A HOPE member of staff will continue to live in Kalebo Laka for the next two years to deliver this training and support the continued health education.

Thank you for playing your part in ‘bringing history’ to this remote, Ethiopian village. We are now focusing our efforts on raising funds for the next village, Mela Gagula. We invite you to bring life-changing water to that village too!

Cleaning, cooking and bathing with safe water
Cleaning, cooking and bathing with safe water
Before and After - now the water is safe to drink!
Before and After - now the water is safe to drink!
A huge celebration at the handover ceremony!
A huge celebration at the handover ceremony!

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