Before this year, Damenech Dawit had never known what it was like to drink clean water. Like her mother and grandmother before her, Damenech always had to make the long trek –an hour or more each way – to fetch contaminated water from a nearby river.
Damenech, 30 years old and the mother of four children, and her neighbours struggled a lot. Since the village had no clean water, the whole community (but especially women and girls) had to search for water from any source available. Even though they knew that this water made them ill, they had no other options. Women miscarried from the hard labour, and girls often did not have the time to go to school.
In June 2015, HOPE International Development Agency and the community of Gezeso finished constructing a water system that is now providing clean water to over 3,000 people. The system includes a spring cap, a water tank, 19 water points, and almost 6 kilometers of pipe. Families in Gezeso have also learned how to care for their water system; how to do simple things to stay healthier, such as washing their hands or keeping animals outside their home, and how to dig pit latrines. Now, Damenech says: Since we have a water system in our village, all our problems are gone and we are happy and healthy now. Now men also fetch water and help their family. School enrollment of women and girls is increasing. We are less sick. It is a miracle to me to see this change. What I can say is that nothing is more important than water in this world.