These before and after pictures tell a success story of two communities, Ola and Shalla, in the BenaTsemay region of the South Omo Zone, Ethiopia.
A natural spring in Ola, pictured here, supplied the community with water. But people and livestock had to climb into this traditional water source, polluting the water and contributing to extremely high rates of diarrhea and other water-borne disease.
Ola sits at the top of a mountain. At the bottom of that mountain is the community of Shalla, whose only access to water was a 25 kilometers walk away. Watering their livestock took days: one day walking to the well, one day watering, a third day walking home, and a fourth day resting before starting the process again.
The government had previously built a pipeline and reservoir to divert water from the Ola spring at the top of the mountain down to the lower elevation Shalla community. But as can happen when there is a lack of communication between communities sharing a resource, the pipeline became damaged and no one had the resources or know-how to fix it.
The government asked GTLI to help. We worked with both communities, employing our Community-Based Learning in Action process (CBLA) and our technical expertise. We determined we could refurbish the Ola spring, providing a clean access point for people and a separate access point for livestock. We repaired the pipeline to the Shalla community and constructed two access points for both people and livestock. The community Water Sanitation Committees were trained in preventative maintenance of the pipe line, spring, reservoir, and water points to ensure the communities can handle any future problems.
Now the communities at the top of the mountain and the bottom have access to clean water. And they can water their livestock without contaminating the people’s water supply. We expected the Shalla water points would help the 500 people in that community. But it has turned out that more than 2,000 people from neighboring communities now use the water points. The community is managing the water points and keeping the water clean, making this a success story for the entire area.