Relief! When you have water to wash and cook any time of the day
Published November 18, 2016 by Abdikarim Ali Mohamed
To many in Somalia, clean water comes at a back-breaking price.
Women and children have no choice but to walk long distances, sometimes even up to 13 kilometers, to the nearest water point to fetch water for the family’ use. The situation gets worse during the dry season because most water sources dry up and people have to walk longer distances to fetch water.
In Degelema, a beautiful village, we meet Fatuma Abdi, mother of 9 who moved in to the village just recently, attracted by the availability of water from the village borehole dug recently.
Before the borehole was dug, Degelema was a small area and the residents relied on scarce water from ponds after the short rains. Sometimes, residents had to walk through unsafe areas to the nearest water sources such as Dhoobley (13 km or 2 hours walk) and Libeo (18km or 3 hours walk).
Even at these far off water sources, purchasing the water was at a price not all the residents could afford. Fatuma, had to choose what to with the little water they got every day. Her important priorities for water were cooking and drinking.
With the heat and long distances walked looking for the water, washing was not a priority for Fatuma because there just was not enough to consume and have some left for her family to wash. This was the case not only for Fatuma’s family but many other families in her village. Needless to say, long periods without washing worsened the personal hygiene and even resulted in some diseases.
Eager to end the water and sanitation challenges faced by women like Fatuma and communities of Degelema, Adeso with funds from Muslim Charity helped support the construction of a borehole which is just 300 m (3 minutes’ walk) from the village. The borehole is an oasis for all the village members, people living in areas near the village and their livestock.
Since, the establishment of the borehole, the residents can now cook and wash any time in the day, even more than three times if they need because the borehole is just close by and the water is clean and easy to access. With the introduction of safe water, they now have improved personal hygiene and can bath any time of the day as long as water is there.
“Before the bore hole was built, we didn’t have toilets, we used to go our surroundings for execrations. This triggered poor environmental sanitation and personal hygiene. Thank to Adeso and the safe water, my family has now a toilet and the family sanitation and hygiene is improved” Says Fatuma
The chore of fetching water now takes much less time, and they can devote more time to other activities such as literacy training and income-generating activities. Furthermore, the diseases from drinking unsafe water, which often caused stomachaches and diarrhea, have decreased.
Fatima sells small goods to the people who come to the borehole particularly the livestock herders. Her business is growing, with more and more people accessing their water from the borehole. The smile on her face is priceless as she pours water into the jerry can along with other community members.
“I am very grateful for the clean water we are provided with. My daughter now does not have to miss school to fetch water.” says Fatima.
She hopes more water points will be built in her area as the need is still very high.
Read more about the Degelema borehole here.