Clean Water and Sanitation Saves Lives
Water is a crucial element of attaining and improving food security. Clean water saves lives, improves community wellbeing, empowers women and keeps children in education.
Like other basic services, safe water is essential for the survival and well-being of humankind and its access is a prerequisite for the realization of many human rights, including those relating to people’s survival, education and standard of living. Waterborne diseases are responsible for one in five deaths of children under five in Africa, while many waterborne illnesses, such as diarrhea, are increasing due to the effects of climate change.
Using a partnership approach, Vita works with local East African communities to repair broken water pumps in their villages. This has a dramatic impact on health and livelihoods as families, animals, and farmers, can, for the first time, have a reliable water source to depend on.
On top of this, it is estimated that globally women and children can spend 140 million hours daily fetching water. Thus, by restoring and maintaining clean water sources in rural villages, Vita’s water projects help to reduce drudgery and the incidences of poor health for women and children.
Incidentally, providing a clean water source has a very positive impact on the environment, too, as clean water doesn’t need to be boiled. This saves many trees from being cut down for fuel and thus prevents hundreds of tonnes of carbon emissions from polluting the atmosphere this year. It is from these carbon-savings, that Vita creates its carbon offsets, which you can use to offset your carbon footprint. If you’d like to find out more about how Vita is marrying impactful development with climate action, click here.
Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)
Vita’s work on Community-Led Total Sanitation focuses on community education around issues of health and sanitation and the importance of latrine usage. It ensures that it is communities that drive the desired change, and Vita acts only as a support and facilitator of community needs.
Communities work with Vita and CLTS experts to become Open Defecation Free (ODF), providing labour and materials to construct private and communal latrines. Vita’s initial leadership work with CLTS has resulted in it being adopted by neighbouring communities, with no direct Vita inputs.
This is a great endorsement of the success of this initiative. Vita introduced the CLTS concept into Ethiopia and it is now recognised and adopted by communities and development agencies across the country. CLTS and Empowerment.pdf
From community leaders taking action to women rediscovering their time and health again, read just how life-changing access to clean water really is.
A Fixed Water Pump in Ethiopia Changes Women’s Lives
“Thanks to Vita, now I started living as I am getting pure water nearby.” Yenenesh Tsige is 48 and lives with her family. She is a mother of three boys and lives in the Gamo Gofa Zone. “Before this pump was fixed I would have to walk two hours to fetch water,” she says. “I would carry a jerry can of about 25 litres every morning and afternoon. This was my daily routine. No one to help me because all of my children are boys. I don’t have a girl. As it is known, it is women’s duty to collect water in our community.” Read how fixing Yenenesh’s village water pump transformed her quality of life.
Clean water in Dorze keeps Tigist’s smile bright
Twelve-year-old Tigist has an incredible smile and she uses it often! She lives with her mother and siblings in Dorze, high up in the Ridge Mountains in the south of Ethiopia, and loves going to school with her friends every day. But she did not always make it to school. As her mother is very busy at home with the younger ones, Tigist’s job is to fetch the water and up until two years ago, this meant trekking for over an hour each day to the stream and then back.
“I was often late for school, and I was tired in class. My sisters and I were often sick from the dirty water, too,” says Tigist.
A Fixed Well in Eritrea Improves Wellbeing for families
“My husband died when he was just 37 and we have four children. I found it very hard to find the money for wood to boil water. Clean water would mean more money for the children, which would make me very happy. But I am also tired of struggling along the river bed every morning to try to find water where the animals have not been.” Akberet Solomon, chair of the women’s council in Balwa, Eritrea, shares the effect a lack of sanitation and clean water has on her family.
The Story of Dorze Village and its Broken Water Pump
If you want to know the gossip in any village on the continent of Africa, just go to the local village water pump! That’s where information is traded, people catch up, news is exchanged and business is done. However, the Dorze people have been without a water pump for over eight years. The hand pump worked perfectly for many years until a part broke. With no money for or access to the pump, and no direct line of responsibility or ownership, the local people were forced to go back to the traditional way of hauling dirty water from distant water sources.
“Vita Transformed our Life” – Amerech Abba’s Story
“My daughter and I used to have to walk for a very long time to fetch water. This made my daughter very tired when she went to school. Today we just walk for five minutes to the new water pump” says Amarech as she explains the new change in her life.