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Water brings new life in Ethiopia

12 March 2019

Water brings live in Ethiopia

In the Borana district of Ethiopia, a decline in rainfall and rise in temperature over the last 25 years has led to major droughts, a lack of food and increased poverty.

In an area where most communities are pastoralists who rely on livestock for survival, the consequences have been devastating. Regular droughts have led to the deterioration of rangeland, used for animal grazing. Without food and water for the animals, 60% of livestock in the region have died. This has left communities with no way to earn an income, trapping them in poverty.

But thanks to your generous donations, and with support from DFID, we’ve been working in the region to rehabilitate rangeland, provide access to safe drinking water for the whole community, and create co-operatives for communities to save money and insure their livestock.

Dabo Rari is a 35 year old mother of three living in Gombisa village. Here women were forced to spend hours a day looking for water, often with their livestock in tow. Many animals would die on the way, not strong enough to make the journey. Dabo would walk a gruelling four and a half hours every day to fetch water. This meant she didn’t have time to take her children to school or prepare meals for the family. There often wasn’t enough water for the family to bathe. Dabo explains,

"It was a very difficult time for both us and the livestock."

Yet today, thanks to your support, Dabo now only has to travel 30 minutes to collect water. A new dam has been constructed in the village, giving them their own source of water. Dabo told us,

"Now we have the dam for washing, drinking and bathing. We have time to farm and also collect water. We look after this water source like it is our own baby. We have laws governing its welfare and its use."

Additionally, young people in the area have opened small fruit and vegetable plots, using the overspill from the dam. The benefits can be felt throughout the community.

In the last year alone we’ve helped over 130,000 people from 13 villages in Ethiopia to become resilient to the devastating effects of climate change. Over 3,500 hectares of land has been redeveloped to use as livestock pasture and communities have been trained to manage and preserve the land. As the health of livestock has improved, local communities are able to sell the animals for an increased price at the market. We’re also helping to put disaster reduction systems in place, so that communities are linked to government early warning systems and are better prepared in the face of future droughts.

We’re working with community members to provide small grants, leadership and business development training, to help them to diversify their income through activities such as soap production and save additional income. Over 2,250 households are now saving through local co-operatives.

Dabo told us,

"I would like to thank everyone in Scotland who gave us this great gift. Please always be with us, and continue to support so that other communities who are suffering are provided with the same opportunity. "