Women and men from the community are now members of Water User Committees
As the village of Almagabi in Sudan is close to the River Nile, you might wonder why its 7,000 people have problems with their water supply.
Sideega Osman, a 30-year-old married woman living in the village, explains that the river is a kilometre away, but it is not an easy journey in the blazing heat of summer. Since fetching water is traditionally considered a task for women and girls, it is one with which she is all too familiar.
‘The water is used by both humans and animals, which is a big cause of disease among people,’ she adds. Those diseases include malaria, dengue fever and cholera. The only other source of water locally is a small treatment plant four kilometres, or two hours’ walking distance, away providing just 10 to 15 barrels of water a day, nowhere near enough for the 25,000 people who live in Almagabi and surrounding villages.
Far more boys than girls go to school because the girls are expected to help with fetching water, leaving them without the time or energy for lessons. At the local primary school, only two-fifths of the 1,400 pupils are girls. That proportion falls to one fifth at the secondary school, many more children do not go to school at all, most of them are girls.
A teacher in the primary school and a member of the local Water User Committee, Abdalla Ali Mohammed, 40, says, ‘lack of access to safe and adequate water in the village has significant effects and economic burdens on the community’. Apart from the effect on school attendance, he points out that water is also a safety concern, ‘children have to cross main roads to fetch water from the river Nile and during the rainy season communities are not able to collect water from the river, because flooding makes the road inaccessible.’
A project funded jointly by the Isle of Man Government and Cafod aims to restore what had seemed to be lost for good. Working with a local partner agency, Global Aid Hand, new pipes are being laid along the 900 metres from the water tank to Almagabi. Three public water distribution points, each with ten taps, are under construction in the village with the work due to finish next year.
Women and men from the community are now members of Water User Committees set up to ensure that the system will be maintained. Other local people are also being trained as Hygiene Promoters, helping their neighbours adopt safe hygiene practices and guard against infection. ‘After 10 years, it would be a dream to get this water rehabilitated,’ said Sideega Osman.
On the Isle of Man, Cafod volunteers participated in a Global Village event on Tynwald Day presenting Cafod’s work in Sudan and around the world.
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Clean water reaches thousands in Sudan thanks
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