More than just a Drink: Water is Development

In Ethiopia only 4 in 10 people have access to clean water. Traditionally, fetching water is women’s business – they walk an average 6 km to the next water point where they bucket water for their families from polluted runlets. In agriculture farmers depend on irregular rains. If a rainy season is too short it can cause crop failures. In addition, traditional irrigation methods lead to the run-off of fertile soil.

We therefore implement the following measures in the water supply sector:

  • Initiation of water committees in the villages
  • Training of the population in well management and maintenance
  • Tapping of springs and construction of pump wells
  • Construction of wash places and animal watering troughs
  • Construction of reservoirs at tapped springs to collect water running overnight (industrial water)
  • Construction of irrigation systems for agriculture
  • Construction of irrigation systems for small towns

The construction of wells and tapped springs provides access to clean, healthy water. As in other areas too, the population is involved in the project right from the start. The decision on where to build a well or tapped spring depends on the needs of the region, its water resources, and people’s willingness to take on the responsibility for this project.

 

Wells are collaborative projects

In the village itself, the population elects a water committee Menschen für Menschen then trains in the care and maintenance of a well to ensure the longest possible service life. Generally, the water committee hires a well guard itself. S/he is responsible for the maintenance and regular cleaning of the well, and receives a salary for her / his work that is financed by users’ contributions. The amount of this usage fee is determined by the population and will in the future also be used to pay for possible repairs and spare parts.

 

Advancement of women through clean water

The supply of clean, healthy drinking water in proximity to the villages promotes health and hygienic conditions, which in turn has the positive effect of a significant fall in preventable diseases such as diarrhoea or the eye infection trachoma. It also saves time for women and girls allowing them to attend school or training courses, or participate in micro-credit schemes to generate an independent income.