Fighting for change
Akeza walking to Korkora's old water source.
Credit: WaterAid / Caroline Irby
Korkora is a village tucked away in the Tigray mountains of Ethiopia. Set in a landscape of stunning rock formations, and beautiful scenery Korkora looks a long way from the famine-raged images that are often the only pictures shown of Ethiopia.
But life in this region is hard and a third of Korkora's population was lost or moved away during the 1984 famine. The majority of people still live by subsistence farming on land that is ravaged by droughts.
But since working with WaterAid's partner, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, things have improved for the villagers here. They have a gravity flow water scheme that taps a source in the mountains and provides water to 1255 people and 750 livestock through two water points and one cattle trough. The scheme is now managed by the community and hygiene and sanitation work is ongoing.
Now that we don't spend four or five hours collecting water we can just collect our water and then go to work. We have more time for our household chores and for other work.
Akeza Hadish, the head of the woman's association in
Korkora, notes that now the water they use is pure and there are no
animals defecating in it. In addition, the villagers no longer have to
queue for water.
Describing life before the provision of
the water sources, she recollects, "Before we used two different water
sources. One was a spring, and the other was much further away where
we used to have to go when the spring dried up.
"We used to have to walk for an hour to get to the source and then we often
had to queue for four or five hours until it was our turn to collect water.
"As it wasn't protected people and livestock both used to use it for washing
and drinking, but it was polluted and very muddy around the edges where people
and cattle walked."
Akeza continues "The children all used to suffer with fever, rashes, diarrhea
and, skin diseases. We don't have these diseases now - we have seen a radical
"We used to only collect one jerry can of water a day because it took so long
to collect. Now we can use up to five jerry cans in a day if we need to and this
has brought so many changes. Before we couldn't even wash our children once a
month but now we can wash them every day.
"I also advise the children to wash their hands and faces three times a day
and to wash their clothes. I can wash our utensils and the house as well.
"Now that we don't spend four or five hours collecting water we can just
collect our water and then go to work. We have more time for our household
chores and for other work. I can make coffee and prepare breakfast and then sit
down and have both before I clean the compound.
"I can also spend more time with the women's group - we helped on this
project. When there was a drought here we spent so much time walking to collect
water. The queues were so long that we'd often have to wait for more that five
hours for our turn. Now, if drought comes again we will fight it.
"We are caring for and maintaining the environment and the soil. We are
growing salad, tomatoes and other food in our gardens. Now with more water and
with more time we can cultivate this food and we can fight!"
Access to nearby, clean water reduces the burden of work on women and allows them to do other activities.
Credit: WaterAid / Caroline Irby
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