Somalia, 26 August 2014: Women take lead in in water management in Puntland
By Dinesh Bajracharya
26 August 2014, GAROWE – In Rabable, a village 25 kilometers from Puntland’s Capital, Garowe, the community has entrusted the management of their water system to a woman, Lul Mohamed Ali.
Ms Mohamed heads a six member local committee formed by the community to manage and maintain the water system to ensure sustainability. Other members of the committee are technical persons for operation and maintenance and village elders.
With support from UNICEF Puntland State Agency for Energy and Natural Resources (PSAWEN), a government partner, a new water system was recently built in Rabable village. The water system consists of an overhead tank of 20,000 liters to store water pumped from the shallow well. The Water is then distributed to the households through three kiosks constructed in three different locations in the community.
Before the water system was built, members of the 45 households of the village had to walk two kilometers for a round trip to collect a bucket of water, a burden mainly shouldered by the women and children. The only source of water was a seasonal river on which both humans and animals competed for water needs. As a result, residents started to leave the village for other towns with water.
“I believe that people will return to the village, now that there is water”, Ms Mohamed said.
The water management committees’ roles are to ensure the smooth collection of water, cleaning the water catchment area, caring for the equipment and doing minor operations and maintenance of the system.
Ms Mohamed says, as a chairperson, she convenes regular committee meetings to discuss the smooth running of the system. One of the issues in their agenda currently is the collection of regular fee for the operation and maintenance of the system. The suggestion to be introduced to the community is the collection of $1 per month from every household.
To avert the outbreak of diarrhea and other related diseases, promotion of hygiene and sanitation is also on the committee’s agenda. The committee creates awareness and encourages households to dig latrines so as to improve sanitation and hygiene in Rabable. Currently there are only two latrines in the whole village and open defecation is a common practice which is a big risk.
The project in Rabable is one of several efforts by UNICEF with support from the UN’s Central Emergency Fund (CERF) and other donors to enhance access to adequate safe drinking water and improve hygiene and sanitation for communities across Puntland where close to half of the entire population, especially those in the rural areas do not have access to safe water.
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