Southeast Ethiopia hardest hit
Within the emerging Ethiopia, the Somali regional state is one of the least developed. Decades of instability in the region have left it economically, structurally and socially outstripped. The drought has hit people particularly hard.
The area is characterised by pastoral animal husbandry. Farmers move with their herds of cattle on the large, unenclosed pastures. Due to the drought, it has become almost impossible to feed the animals, as the water points have dried up and the meagre vegetation has dried up.
The next drought will come. We are happy,
that the first rain tanks are ready.
With the livestock the basis of life dies
With the livestock also the food basis and main source of income of the people dies. Many men have migrated to larger cities in search of new sources of income. The situation is particularly difficult for the women who are left behind. Without their own livestock, they have hardly any opportunity to support their families. According to the Ethiopian government, a total of 1.8 million people in the Somali region are dependent on water, sanitation and food aid.
Eroded soils promote flooding
Since spring 2018, the situation has worsened again. On the run from the life-threatening drought, many families have settled along rivers. Although the chance of sufficient water increases there, there is also a risk of flooding. The above-average rainfall in spring could not be absorbed by the completely arid soils. The water ultimately flowed into the riverbeds and caused severe flooding, especially on the lower reaches of the Shabelle River, taking harvests, animals and buildings with it and destroying public infrastructure. The water level rose by almost 4 metres in some cases. The majority of those affected had previously fled here because of the drought. These people have now also lost the little they had left.
Unsafe water with potentially lethal consequences
The Woredas Goglo and Kelafo in which arche noVa is active were classified as particularly critical by the local government. While in Goglo access to the water infrastructure is generally very limited, in Kelafo many water sources have been damaged or contaminated by the floods. The population now drinks untreated water from the nearby Shabelle River. This is an enormous danger, as the health of many people is already under attack due to malnutrition. An additional diarrhoea quickly becomes a matter of life and death.
Water supply - simple but effective
In order to ensure a basic supply, arche noVa, together with its local partner organisation OWDA, will build or repair a total of ten rainwater cisterns in the course of the project. In doing so, we are taking up the traditional construction method of the Birkaz cisterns, but improving them at crucial points: For example, the foundations are being raised to protect against flooding and a sand filter stage is being integrated to improve the quality of the water extracted. An overall more stable construction improves the longevity of the water reservoirs, while a fence protects them from animals.
A water filter system is also being set up for those people who draw their water from the river. With the aid of pumps, the river water is first pumped into a high tank and can then flow from there through the filter system into the extraction tank.
Gallery: Safe drinking water is essential for survival
Preventing the spread of diseases through good hygiene
Many people in the project communities operate so-called open defaecation, i.e. they do their business outdoors. Above all, the insufficient number of toilets forces them to do so. arche noVa will therefore repair latrines destroyed by flooding in Kelafo. The aim for the entire project, however, is to improve hygiene conditions through hygiene training and a so-called CLTS campaign. CLTS (Community Led Total Sanitation) is a proven approach to mobilize communities and end open defecation. Ultimately, people should be motivated and guided to build their own latrines and keep them in good shape.
In order to support the particularly affected households run by women, we have also put together a package of measures for women's groups. Among other things, this includes workshops on income-securing measures, small start-up financing for micro-enterprises and the distribution of donkey carts as means of transport. To ensure that the people in the two Woredas are better prepared for extreme weather events in the future, disaster control measures are also being developed with the local authorities.
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Improving water supply, sanitation and food security for drought and flood affected communities in Goglo and Kelafo Woredas, Somali region, Ethiopia
13,300 people in the communities of Goglo and Kelafo, in particular pastoralists who have lost their livestock as a result of the drought and drought-affected farmers.
- Construction and rehabilitation of 10 water reservoirs (Birkaz)
- Installation of water filter systems in 4 villages
- Repair of latrines damaged by flooding.
- Improvement of hygiene conditions through distribution of hygiene articles, hygiene training and CLTS (Community Led Total Sanitation) campaigns. This also includes instructions on how to build simple latrines.
- Training for water committees on water infrastructure maintenance and care
Construction of emergency toilets in case of new floods / emergency situations.
- Workshops for women to improve their income situation.
- Workshops on disaster risk management
Organization for Welfare and Development in Action (OWDA)