Our partner began serving in Dodola region of Ethiopia in 2019, focusing on communities with the greatest need for safe water access. While there is an ongoing civil war in the Tigray region at the northern tip of Ethiopia, the Dodola region in central Ethiopia remains peaceful so far. And while COVID and weather have impacted project timelines, the civil war has not.
In Dodola, most families live in traditional mud-thatched homes roofed with dried brush from the surrounding forest. A majority of families rely on agriculture for their annual income, and water scarcity and water quality are among what the communities deem their greatest problems.
Water usage is exceptionally low, with the average household using only 13 gallons of water per day between five-six people. The World Health Organization recommends a minimum of 13 gallons per day per person to meet the basic needs of a human body like hydration and hygiene and sanitation. This means that in Dodola, families are surviving off of what amounts to sips of water a day.
Gathering that minimal amount of water takes two hours and 12 minutes a day in the dry season. Women and children often travel to unprotected springs or rivers. The contaminated water is dangerous for everyone, but particularly children under the age of five years old. Their immune systems are still developing, and they aren’t able to fight the illnesses like adults.
The good news is, this is entirely preventable. Lifewater’s work in the surrounding area shows that waterborne illness can be nearly eliminated with basic access to things like clean drinking water, proper sanitation, and washing hands with soap.
Unlike other project-focused partners that Ingomar Living Waters works with, Lifewater does not have the ability to designate or allocate funds to a specific project in advance. So what Lifewater has done is to communicate a clean water project that was just getting underway at the time they received the generous $12,000 funding from the pair of WORLD CHANGER couples that made this particular work in Dodola region possible. Lifewater operates across regional WASH (Water and Sanitation, Hygiene) areas including one of their biggest in Dodola region of Ethiopia. In a Lifewater region, villages must “earn” a water point (a well or a spring-fed system) that will provide them clean water. They earn the water point by showing proficiency at Sanitation and Hygiene.
Garamba Egu is a village of 369 people in the Dodola region of Ethiopia. In February 2021, Garamba Egu was verified as Open Defecation Free (ODF), a significant accomplishment. Ninety percent of the households in this village, more than 150 homes, were certified as “Healthy Homes”, a Lifewater certification meaning the household has adopted key sanitation and hygiene practices to improve their health. They’ve used their own resources to construct family latrines. They’ve had their food preparations areas certified to be clean. And they understand and practice daily hygiene based on training they received.
Three families in Garamba Egu are pictured with their latrines
Prior to earning a water point, life was hard in Garamba Egu. Below are pictures of a mother, named Momina, and her daughters fetching water prior to the building of the tap stand that your generous donations made possible.
When Momina gathers water in the morning, her mind spins with a list of things to accomplish that day. It is up to her to cook, gather water, and clean the home.
Now, she must also tend to the farm. Her husband has a chronic eye condition, and he’s unable to work. The eye condition, like the waterborne diseases Momina’s children have, is a result of the unsafe water Momina’s family drinks.
Momina, Ansha, and their five children live in Garamba Egu village. Twice a day, Momina walks to a nearby natural spring to fetch water for her family.
The water from the spring is contaminated by animals and unsafe to drink, but the family has no choice. It makes Momina’s children dangerously sick, and it’s keeping Ansha from healing.
Ansha is suffering from a bad case of trachoma, an eye condition easily prevented with safe water and adequate sanitation. Medication for the disease is draining the family’s finances, and without safe water, he cannot heal.
“Our life is full of challenges from the unclean water,” Momina said.
Out of all of their children, only one child, Radiya, attends school. The family is so stretched financially, things like soap, school, and adequate food have become luxuries.
“I wish my children could have an opportunity to access school easily,” Momina said.
With safe and abundant water, Momina’s family can be healthy. Anshu can begin healing and working again, and Momina can finally find moments of rest in her busy days.
“Clean water would be a guarantee for healthy and happy living,” Momina said.
At the time of funding in April 2021, Garamba Egu had earned their water point. As funding that you provided was received, work on a clean water access point was just getting underway at Garamba Egu. Your funding helped make it possible for this community to receive safe water through a protected spring system. A nearby natural spring was sealed to protect it from contamination and water travels through gravity-fed pipes to a water collection point within the community (also called a tap stand). Your generous gift has brought clean water to 369 people in Garamba Egu who were in desperate need! Thank you so much for changing lives of everyone at Garamba Ebu!
In addition to the tap stand at Garamba Ebu, funding helped build out spring caps and storage tanks that make up the infrastructure which will be used to provide clean water to other local villages. And funds were also used to build a latrine block for a local school. Since we do not track dollar for dollar, we cannot say exactly which projects that your funding went to around Garamba Ebu, but it is all critical work that has sustainably changed lives for the better in and around Garamba Ebu.
And in addition to contributing materials and labor toward this water source, the community members have been working hard to continue to improve their health of their village. The relationships, education, and community work is tremendous but that is exactly what creates a sustainable solution to the water and sanitation crisis. Thank you for being a part of this work. We cannot thank you enough.
Thank you again for your generous gift in April 2021! Your gift has contributed to part of an overall Phase 1 in Dodola region of Ethiopia. Dodola Phase 1 includes 72 rural villages. These villages are home to 22,398 people, living in 2,987 households. Project activities began in April 2019 and will end in June 2022. At that point, all of these villages and water points will continue to be monitored for sustainability for another 5 years.
Thank you for your help in this program! Blessings!