Turning Water into Opportunity: A Transformation in Ethiopia
In Odako Anidi village, green mountains frame tall, square homes built of bamboo, and crops like corn and Ethiopian banana line backyards. Butchers, tea shops, and retail stores fill the bustling community of 252 people and counting, and children chase one another along the rolling hills.
They are healthy and making a way out of poverty.
Yet, a year ago, a visitor may not have recognized Odako Anidi village. Few businesses existed, children were sick, and families were tired.
“We traveled a long distance to get water for many years,” Mesu Bogal, a mother of two in Odako Anidi said.
This long distance for water was the difference between a thriving village and one in need. The natural spring was far away, muddy, and insects swam in it. The water made everyone sick, so families spent their hard-earned money on medication.
In 2019, Lifewater’s health experts began working house by house to help families adopt life-saving sanitation and hygiene habits like hand washing and using a pit latrine. Water engineers worked with community leaders to construct a custom water source built to last.
“We were taught to keep our personal health and sanitation,” Teka, Mesu’s husband, said. “It is the result of a committed effort and continuous follow-ups of Lifewater health promoters and facilitators.”
In January of 2020, Odako Anidi village received safe drinking water just steps from their homes. For families today, it feels as though the sun has come out for the first time.
With safe water and newfound health, families found hope and opportunity. With saved time gathering water and money saved on healthcare costs, parents began doing what they’d always dreamed of doing.
“I have started a business. I hope I will expand it if God helps me in the future.” – Mesu
Mesu owns a shop selling soap, spices, tea, and more.
Some parents went back to school and learned to read and write. Others opened restaurants. With newfound strength and time, community members began digging a road to reach other communities and towns, and now the village is bursting with businesses and life.
“We appreciate Lifewater for their fast response to solve our prolonged problem,” Mesu said.
Safe water changes lives every day, giving hope to those in need and creating opportunity for families everywhere to make a way for themselves.