Life is looking up in Nafadji
The responsibility of fetching water for the family often falls on women and children.
Credit: WaterAid / Jules Acton / Sally Warren
WaterAid and its partner organization have been working with communities in Nefadji, an area in the capital city Bamako, to set up safe water supplies.
Having a ready supply of clean and safe water has greatly benefited the community, especially the women and children who are mainly responsible for collecting water.
Awa, 51, lives in Nafadji, a community where people faced great
misery due to an unreliable water supply. There were wells in the
village, but they often dried up in the hot season.
the women and children with the choice between buying water from
vendors at exorbitant prices or queuing for hours on end at the nearest
alternative water source, which was a 1.5 kilometer walk away.
The whole process of getting access to safe water and toilets has made us feel like a team. We have advanced very much.
explains, “If we collected the water ourselves we had to queue for a
very long time – usually around one hour for a 20 liter bucket of
water. Going back and forth collecting water would take all day.
Sometimes we would go at night when the queues were less long.”
scarcity of water was made worse by the fact that the water sources
were unprotected, which left them open to contamination. Poor
sanitation added to the problem - pools of dirty water would stagnate
in the street and the makeshift latrines would overflow, adding sewage
to the stagnant pools.
The inevitable result was the spread of
diseases in the community, and usually it was the most vulnerable
members that fell ill the most.
“If a child fell ill it was
normal because that is how we lived. It was not unusual for children to
die. There was so much illness and everything was on the shoulders of
women. There was so much stress which can lead to conflict”, Awa notes.
took a turn for the better when the community began working with
WaterAid’s local partner organization Jigi to set up a reliable water
supply in the village, and also clean up the village by building proper
latrines and drainage and learn safe hygiene behavior.
Awa describes the impact the new waterpoint has had on their lives:
we are free. Before we spent all day fetching water. Children used to
get water and they didn't have time for learning. Now they are at
“They love going to school. We have time to do the
housework, cleaning and also small business. Nafadji women can go out
first thing in the morning to go to market and sell things. Some women
sell vegetables: eggplants, cabbages and tomatoes and some make soap
to sell. If women work, everything works.
“I am training as a
health worker. And some of my neighbors are training to take on other
development roles. It is due to the development of the village there is
lots of training and the whole village is so much more dynamic. We want
to act. And the whole process of getting access to safe water and
toilets has made us feel like more of a team. We have advanced very
As Treasurer of the Water Committee Awa is responsible for collecting money from people using the water point.
Credit: WaterAid / Sally Warren
After two years of raising awareness against the use of uncovered buckets in Nafadji, WaterAid's partner JIGI saw no apparent sign of change. The challenge lay in facilitating households’ access to appropriate utensils for water transport. Find out more about the strategy adopted by JIGI.
Read full story on WaterAid Mali's website
Aline Ouédraogo from WaterAid in Burkina Faso, discusses how they helped to
establish the Civil Society Network which acts as the public's voice on
issues of water and sanitation, and the use of theater in broaching the
taboo subject of sanitation and hygiene.
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