Help Rural Ethiopians Improve Access to Water

by Global Communities

CHF International’s water security program in Ethiopia assists rural farmers in achieving sustainable food security and access to clean water. We apply solutions that address immediate emergency needs while enabling communities to mitigate the effects of recurrent drought conditions. Since the last update, 60 motorized water pumps were installed in various communities and 45 concrete-lined outlet channels were constructed. To increase availability and quality of feed for livestock, we have been encouraging farmers to grow their own feed for their animals. This reduces reliance on outside markets. We continue to foster the creation of Asset Building Groups, groups who support each others’ economic security through savings and loans. Even with these successes, lack of water access continues to be an issue in Ethiopia, and is a major constraint to food security due to prevalence of water-borne diseases. Please donate to this important program and ensure these farmers can survive another season.

Through funding from Disney, CHF’s Click for Clean Water project helps provide for immediate water needs, improve hygiene practices, and also mitigate future drought impacts by providing more reliable and localized water sources for the future. CHF is targeting 15 drought-affected communities to construct wells and water catchments at local schools to improve access to water. The project also educates children about proper sanitation, hygiene and basic health topics to help curb preventable disease and illness.As part of the initiative, CHF is working with PlayPumps International to build merry-go-round water pumps. As children spin the merry-go-round, clean water is pumped from underground and stored in an above ground tank. In addition to the merry-go-round water pumps, the project helps to repair wells and install rainwater catchment systems. Community members are involved through participatory process with outreach to community leaders, local authorities, and established Water Management Committees. Children of all ages and their families will benefit from having more clean and safe water and improved health and households will benefit by reducing time and effort spent by women and children on the collection of water.

Asset Building Group with livestock
Asset Building Group with livestock

Building Resilience Against Drought

Alongside our water work in Ethiopia, CHF forms community groups and associations to help build resilience against conditions that cause drought to be so dangerous.

In February, CHF visited an Asset Building Group (ABG) that we formed three years ago. The purpose of the ABG was to provide rotational lending and savings capacity to community members within a localized, manageable setting. This particular ABG is composed of 14 women whom CHF organized three years ago and provided each with 30 chicks and an incubator. The group is now thriving, saving and lending among its members and meeting monthly.

Some members continue to raise chicks and sell the eggs; others have borrowed from their profits to start small shops. All members have used their profits to buy or trade up to sheep and goats and now have a considerable asset base. The initial activity (provision of the baby chicks) allowed for group savings that were then used to increase assets and provide individual opportunities for these women. Since begin set up the group has flourished on its own and has attained the kind of food security intended by the program, and provides an excellent example of the sustainable development that CHF aims to undertake, helping reduce the vulnerability of agrilcutural communities to drought and famine.

There’s also a whole lot of chickens running around…


The Somali region of Ethiopia continues to experience drought conditions, which are rooted in longer-term climatic trends of the Horn of Africa. The result is that the food security and asset bases of the population are being severely eroded, increasing the vulnerability to recurrent climatic shocks. In response, CHF is implementing a comprehensive strategy in three arid zones of the region that not only addresses the immediate needs of the people but provides enduring and self-sustaining solutions to improve the quality of life through interventions in irrigated agriculture, livelihoods diversification and access to clean water.

Since 2007, CHF has assisted 1,300 agro-pastoralist households along the Shabele River of the Gode zone to achieve community-based irrigated agriculture through self-managed organization, design and planning. The activities were structured upon a holistic and participatory methodology where beneficiaries were organized into 18 Asset Building Groups (ABGs), facilitated in the initiation of internal saving and lending, participated in health and technical training cycles, and were provided with modest and necessary inputs. CHF trained farmers in gravity dispersion irrigation for the production of fodder, food, and cash crops for support of livestock assets, food security and income generation. The successes of that initiative were so compelling that CHF is now in the start-up phase to build upon those achievements by establishing an additional 27 agriculture groups, diversifying varieties of crops, and linking the communities to markets across the vast Somali region.

While the production of food, fodder, and cash crops is a critical component to establishing food security, it is equally important to protect the existing livestock assets upon which up to 95% of the Somali region population depends as a source of wealth and food. The drought conditions are making it increasingly difficult for pastoralists to access clean and available water sources. CHF has rehabilitated or constructed more than 230 shallow wells and water reservoirs to provide for both human consumption as well as the livestock upon which the people depend. While CHF continues to provide these long-term water sources in the Gode and Afder zones for the communities, and along traditional migratory routes, we are now providing this water access to the remote Warder zone. The easternmost point of Ethiopia, the Warder zone is accessible to no other NGO, making this a tremendous responsibility upon CHF to implement 75 water points over the coming months. And with the numerous needs of the underserved population, CHF is currently identifying additional interventions in livestock, animal health and livelihoods that will benefit the communities in a more holistic way.

The CHF team is committed to identifying pragmatic and innovative solutions to bring enduring positive change to the people of the Somali region. The generous support of Global Giving is making it possible to achieve an increasingly bright and secure future in this distant corner of the world.

CHF International has completed work in two of the three zones that have been targeted for the water, sanitation, and hygiene projects (WASH).

In the zone of Gode, CHF has trained 90 community agents to educate and create awareness about the importance of water safety, sanitation, and hygiene. The community agents were also part of a broader plan to localize training and distribute 50,400 point-of-use water purification systems. These purification systems will help raise awareness about water contamination and provide safety from water-borne illness.

In the Afder zone, CHF has completed construction of 13 shallow wells, 1 birkad (rain water reservoir), and local training for well maintenance and hygiene and sanitation. At each water access point, CHF helped institute a Water Management Committee (WMC) consisting of 12 members, 50% of whom are women. The WMC manages the future use of the water access point and facilitates the community’s contribution to the maintenance of the well.

CHF is now implementing the WASH program in the Warder zone. The goals of the project are to rehabilitate 53 shallow wells, construct 15 birkads, and provide maintenance and hygiene and sanitation training in all 68 work locations. Work should begin soon and we are excited to start the WASH program in the new region. We would like to thank our donors for their generous support that has made this work possible. Please feel free to get in touch with our contact (listed above) to learn more about or comment on this project.


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Organization Information

Global Communities

Location: Silver Spring, MD - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Lori Goldhammer
Silver Spring, MD Ethiopia

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