We Now Have Peace of Mind!
Published June 27, 2016 by Abdikareem Ahmed Ali
Written by Abdikareem Ahmed Ali
“Before this water pan, getting water was no easy task.”
Bisharo Mahat, a resident of Bula-Abaq village in Lower Juba Somalia recounts the difficulty her and fellow villagers had to face in search of, water, a precious commodity in her homeland.
“Our village had a small and silted water-pan as the only source of water. There was no difference between it and the wet ground water, which exhausts and dries up soon after the rain, forcing us to walk for 10km to the Afmadow shallow wells to fetch water and carry it back home on our backs. A pregnant woman or a child went to collect water from places as far as town, by use of their backs Bisharo explains.
This was before Bula-Abaq water pan was excavated by a group of 30 youth in the village enrolled in Adeso’s cash for work program, as part of the Youth Intensive Employment Project (YIEP), funded by the Somalia Stability Fund. This was an 8 month project that begun in August 2016, with the aim of supporting youth in Lower Juba, Somalia, in finding sustainable employment through creation of labor intense employment opportunities for the youth. Adeso had prioritized the need for water in the village in close consultation with Afmadow local authority, youth and community committees in the village.
The Gu rains were well received in the area in the first half of the year, filling the water pan to its brim. The water collected was estimated to be enough to sustain the village for three months, while they wait for the Deer rains to arrive in August to refill the water pan for community use.
Bula-Abaq village is located 10km northeast of Afmadow, Lower Juba in Somalia. The village does not have access to a permanent water point forcing residents to walk long distances to buy water for their consumption and livestock. Additionally, purchasing water was prohibitively expensive and often a dangerous journey. A 20 liter Jeri can of water costs Ssh.7000-equivalent to 1USD, a price many villagers strained to afford because the villagers, most of whom are pastoralist drop outs, survive on less than one dollar a day.
The trek to Afmadow was characterized by security risks the villagers, especially women and children, encountered. One day, while making the trek Bisharo recounts an incident when a young girl was attacked on the way home.
“One afternoon last September, we found the girl with her clothes torn and bruises on her body. She told us what had happened to her and we brought her to the hospital for medical attention.”
Such cases of insecurity are since unheard of, since the villagers have access to water from the water pan right in their village.