Worms, leeches long gone

A stream full of worms, leeches and waterborne disease used to be their only option. But thanks to your generosity, the community of Mezegaguf recently got a new well! Today, moms like Akberet Naizgi no longer have to worry about their kids getting sick from dirty water.

The 350 residents of the Mezegaguf village in Ethiopia once had no choice but to fetch their water from remote streams and other stagnant sources that were full of worms, leeches and other red water organisms. They would try to separate the worms from the water by using cloth to filter the water. While that process filtered the worms, it didn’t remove all of the other bacteria that were in the water, which caused most of the community to suffer from waterborne disease.

Akberet Naizgi, 23, said that her son repeatedly suffered from diarrhea. She took him to the health center for medical checkups but they couldn’t identify the reason.

“It was my understanding that the diarrhea might be from the water,” Naizgi said. “It’s not difficult to understand the quality of the water in the river. You only have to glance at the color of it – it’s green. It’s full of algae like most stagnant water.”

But recently, all that changed when Water.org and its certified local partner, REST, constructed a new water project. Dealing with green-colored water full of potential disease is now a thing of the past for Akberet and the villagers.

Akberet and other women in the village are able to get clean water from the new water point and only have to walk 10 minutes back and forth. She is very happy with the clean water and said that she can see the positive effects throughout the village.

“My family, as well as the whole society, is now using healthy and protected water,” she said. “We are free from having to use the contaminated water source. Everyone has an ample supply of water to use. I use an average of 60 liters per day but if I want to add to that I can add as I want.”

The community formed six water committees (three female and three male) to have regular meetings and check over how the well is being taken care of, cleaned, and managed. The community decided that their well will be open twice a day, once from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. and then from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

According to the water committee members, each family contributed 10 birr ($0.58 USD) to open an account through the local microfinancing company. Each household pays two birr ($0.12 USD) per month; one goes to pay the well guard and the other goes towards the well maintenance.

This community now enjoys a fresh water supply that is free of disease, thanks to your generous support!

Capital: Addis Ababa
Population of 98.9 million
42.5 million lack access to safe water
71 million lack access to improved sanitation
72% of the total population lives on less than US$2 per day