Community-based water project banner image
Main Funder: WaterCan Canada
Where: Dibate Woreda, Ethiopia

Community-based water project

Lack of clean water as well as poor sanitation and hygiene are a leading cause of disease and death in the developing world. According to UNICEF, waterborne diseases kill more people each year than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined and account for up to half of the world’s cases of malnutrition.

Project Activities to address these issues included:

  • Developing and protecting water points using community participation
  • Institutionalizing and building community capacity to plan, manage, and maintain protected water sources
  • Establishing and promoting low-cost environmental sanitation structures designed to improve personal hygiene behaviours
  • Increasing community awareness about the causes of water and sanitation related diseases and how to prevent them
  • Promoting positive hygiene behaviour and sanitation practices among local primary schools

Some featured results:

  • 18 hand dug wells, 14 springs and two extensions from piped lines were completed. This work increased access to water for 17,488 people. Community members contributed labour and materials to carry out the work. Health and Water committees were formed and trained to manage the water points.
  • The new sources of water in the community greatly reduced the amount of time and effort women had to spend collecting water. Instead of waking at dawn and walking for 45 minutes, waiting in line and walking home again, women were spending (on average) 15 minutes to collect water. This time savings allowed women in the community to concentrate on other activities. Other family members, men included, were also motivated to assist girls or mothers in fetching water, thanks to the accessibility of the new water sources.
  • Three wells were situation on school property to serve 5,193 students. Increased access to safe water contributed to fewer students dropping out of school, lower incidences of waterborne diseases, and less time spent fetching water from distant sources. Latrines were also installed at nine schools and five Alternative Basic Education Centres.
  • Model latrines that could easily be replicated were built and community members were encouraged to build their own latrines. To promote sustainability of the project, emphasis was placed on building the community’s capacity to plan, manage and maintain these new assets. Tool kits were also provided and a water fee system was established in all villages that received a water point.
  • The combination of clean water and community education about sanitation and hygiene contributed to improved health. Incidences of waterborne diseases, malaria, intestinal parasites, eye diseases and diarrhea were reduced.
Sustainable Development Goals
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