When there is no water…
“When I was presented the opportunity to become a member of Danan Woreda Social Accountability Committee (WSAC), I was open to it because I was always wondering how I could better help my community,” said Dahat Abdi Hassen, a member of Danan WSAC, Somali Region, Ethiopia.
It is a daily life struggle for each family of Tercha woreda to get clean water. “I spend the whole day searching for clean water. Sometimes I succeed, but often not,” said Darota Gena, a resident of Tercha Woreda, hoping that the water struggle in his community would end someday.
Water connects every aspects of life, and the need for clean accessible water is a fundamental priority for every community. And it is a human right.Today, nearly 771 million people―1 in 10―lack access to safe water globally, locking every community in a cycle of poverty (water.org, 2022). In Ethiopia, according to a study conducted by water.org, only 42 per cent of the population has access to clean water.
“When there is water, there is everything,” said Ato Tarik Endale, VNG Capacity Development Expert, highlighting the contribution of access to safe water to improved health, reduced child and maternal mortality rate and diminished physical injury from constant carrying heavy loads of water.
For a long time, Tercha community has experienced permanent water shortage, and many families primarily collect water from contaminated shallow water sources. Once installed water hand pumps in the woreda are no longer functional and have become play sites for children. “We cannot even quench our thirst even if there is some water at home. We need to save it for other family members or later in the day,” added Ato Darota, highlighting the daily life struggle each family goes through in need of clean water.
Gifted with abundant natural resources, Tercha woreda, administrative seat of Dawro zone in southern Ethiopia, is located about 530km south of Addis Ababa. Based on the 2007 Census conducted by the CSA, the woreda has a total population of just over 100, 000.
As part of their day-to-day routine, community members, often women and girls, spend carrying jerrycans for serval hours per day. According to unicef’s report, water scarcity takes a
greater toll on women and children because they are often the ones responsible for collecting it, keeping children.
Although Ethiopia has made remarkable strides in ensuring access to safe drinking water over the past 20 years, it still faces challenges in overall water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) coverage (USAID, 2019). A global database of water, sanitation, and hygiene indicates that 31 percent of the Ethiopian population relies on unprotected water for their daily needs (Lifewater International, 2019). A similar data indicates that rural communities in Ethiopia, as compared to urban, remain significantly behind in having access to safe drinking water (Global Majority, 2013).
The Ethiopia Social Accountability Program 3 (ESAP3), being implemented by VNG International in partnership with Love In Action Ethiopia in Dawro zone, has brought hopes to the looming water shortages in Tercha woreda. “We’re happy that the findings of the Citizen Report Card survey clearly show that the community’s need for clean accessible water is one of the top priorities,” said Tercha Woreda Social Accountability Expert, Ato Teshome Ortoro, indicating that the goal of Woreda Social Accountability Committee (WSAC) is to support the realization of proper water supply for the community.