From the Field

How a Water Non Profit Organization is Changing Lives in Ethiopia

Published March 1st, 2017 in From the Field

A water non profit should do more than just drill wells–it should provide a path to lasting change. Life-giving change for people like Elemo and his family.

Elemo is a teacher. He and is family live in a village in Nensebo, Ethiopia. Elemo used to worry a lot–he worried about his family’s health, especially for his two children, Alia and Bemiyim. His wife, Medina, did her best to care for the family, but it was hard to keep her family healthy when the only water available was contaminated with animal waste.

For a water non profit working in the field, the goal may be to only provide clean water–a worthy cause, but only part of the story. Lifewater, a Christian water non profit, pursues lasting results and transformation. In order to escape poverty, families need good health, and safe drinking water alone can’t do that. Together with Lifewater, families like Elemo and Medina’s find solutions their whole community can participate in and own. They build their own latrines to keep their homes clean, and they wash their hands to prevent the spread of disease.

Help Drill Deep Wells for Families in Rural Ethiopia

When Lifewater staff started to talk about sanitation, hygiene, and safe water in their community in Nensebo, Ethiopia, Elemo and Medina decided to help. Medina became the chairperson of the water committee, a group selected by the community to be responsible for the upkeep of the water source. Medina and the committee set monthly user fees for each household and deposited the money securely in a savings account at the bank in the event repairs are needed. They proudly displayed their immaculate accounting records and there was a clear sense of community ownership of the new water source.

Now there is a capped spring delivering safe water closer to their home, and Elemo is preparing to begin a summer course to help him be a better teacher. As he was about the leave, he said he was grateful that he didn’t need to worry so much about his family’s health. Alia and Bemiyin are growing up without having to fight water-borne disease and Medina is empowered to lead in her community.

Clockwise from top: Medina and WASH staff Yeshi in front of family latrine, Elemo and friends, protected spring in Nensebo, Ethiopia, and Elemo’s family