THIS BLOG POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON BLOG.FH.ORG. WRITTEN BY MARY KAECH.Everyone gets excited about the digging of a brand-new well … the anticipation, the hard work, and the joyous celebration upon seeing clean, drinkable water spew from the ground!
But what happens after that? Who’s in charge of the water — whose water is it?
Just as we pay companies for our water use here in the West, so people in places like Sasiga, Ethiopia set up their own systems for managing resources.
At a school in Sasiga, FH worked with the local community to build this clean-water well (pictured) which now serves 1,150 students and 166 surrounding households. Before this well was built, these school kids had to drink from a dirty river nearby. Now, each classroom keeps a jerrycan to fill up for break time.FH helped train a five-member water committee in the maintenance and management of the well, fixing broken parts and overseeing the people who use it.
How does it work?
|Tejitu (far right) talks with one of the well’s caretakers|
“The committee members gather on monthly base and discuss on issues of the water point management. So far, we have a very good relationship with the surrounding beneficiaries.
“But the school management complains of our excessive control of the water point and are repeatedly asking for the key to lock the compound. If we give the key to the school and let them have free access it, the students can easily damage the water pump. We supervise them like other beneficiaries and let them use it in a proper way.
“Our concern is for the water points’ sustainability. The good thing is that the school students are getting enough water.
“We have hired one woman as a regular care taker of the well. We pay her a monthly salary of one hundred Ethiopian Birr [about $5.83 USD]. Her job is to keep the water point clean and keep an orderly line of those who come to use it. Every household who uses water from this dug well pays two Ethiopian Birr on a monthly basis [about $0.12 USD].
“But some families who run a business like a tea shop or restaurant pay more based on their rate of consumption. We use this money for the care taker’s salary and water point maintenance.”