Monumental news for 672 households that have never had access to clean water previously!
In May 2017 work started on the Water and Sanitation project in Mela Gagula.
Before work could start, members of the community had to first build a road to their village so that HOPE's vehicles and lorries could deliver the necessary building and plumbing materials. A road that was accessible to vehicles never existed previously. This was back-breaking work for the community, but one they knew would be the start of a different future. The road was completed at the end of April, but poor weather conditions meant there was a delay until the materials could safely be delivered.
In the meantime, HOPE construction staff (a hydrologist, foreman and truck driver) as well as our HOPE health educationalist have set up their tents in the village and will be living in Mela Gagula until their work is complete. This allows them time to develop genuine relationships with the local people and model using good hygiene and sanitation decisions. They will also provide much training - for the 20 Water Caretakers that have been appointed to repair and maintain the water system - and for 15 Community Educators who will teach each household about practicing improved hygiene behaviours (such as building pit latrines and the hygienic use of them, hand-washing with clean water, safe food preparation and storage). This training for local people is essential to ensure that the community fully benefits from access to clean water by changing their previous habits, but also so that the system will continue to be operational years after HOPE has moved on. From this early stage, there is already a sense of local ownership of the water system, which will essentially lead to sustainability and an increased confidence in local skills.
Since the beginning of May, the weather conditions have stabilised and the HOPE construction team have requested that the community to collect and provide local materials that are available. These include rocks and stones for the water tanks and points, as well as sand. Wood from local trees will also be needed for fencing around each of the 10 water points to ensure they are kept safe and not damaged by animals. For this project, two springs are being capped to ensure there is enough water for each of the water points. Soon pipe lines will be dug 5.9km, from the spring to the village, to carry the clean water. This will be the next task for members of the community which will take many weeks.
Thank you again for your support of this project. You can see how work is progressing and, assuming there are no more interruptions to the work, the taps should be turned on August! Immediately after the lifestyle and quality of life for women and their children, in particular, will change as they will no longer need to walk 3-4 hours for water each day. The health of the whole community will improve rapidly as they drink, cook, and wash with water that is safe and not contaminated. The livestock will benefit as well. More food will be grown and consumed. Children will therefore be able to attend school regularly and their parents can then devote themselves to efforts to earn needed money for their families. In addition, 240 women will soon be starting new, small business as a result of their new training from HOPE staff on entrepreneurial skills, as well as fundamentals of saving and lending money.
Work will continue to progress in Mela Gagula but in the UK, we are now turning our attention to our next project in another Ethiopian village called Alugube and Durbe. Join us by making a donation to bring life-changing water to that community of 1,986 as well.