Somali village overcomes drought with a new water source thanks to UNICEF & Italian Development Cooperation
By Maulid Warfa
GALKAYO, Somalia, 2 March 2011 - As drought affects communities in Somalia following the failure of the (October-December) Deyr rains, the people of Saddex Higlo village, are thankful that a new borehole is now operational.
Saddex Higlo, with an estimated population of 950 families, is 45 kilometres south of Galkayo, northeast Somalia. For years the villagers have relied on water trucking from boreholes 80 -100 kilometres away to meet their household and animal needs.
With Italian Development Cooperation funding, UNICEF supported the drilling of the borehole which is only two kilometres from the village. The project included installation of a pump and generator, construction of an elevated water tank and provision of a water kiosk and two troughs for animals.
The new borehole has brought several benefits to the community. According to Ali Daher, programme coordinator with the Somali Development and Relief Organization (SDRO) which was responsible for the drilling, “The village used to rely heavily on water trucking and needed 10 tankers of water daily at a cost of US$1,400.
Now the people of the village will no longer have to spend lots of time and money to get water.”
Shukri Ali a 38-year-old mother of 7 children agrees, “You cannot imagine how grateful we are. I used to spend three days to take my goats for water, now I am so relieved, and will no longer have to worry about going a long distance for water. My life will improve for sure; I will have plenty of time to rest and to look after my children. I will now have time to concentrate on their education.”
In fact, as a result of UNICEF support to construct the borehole, community elders made and kept a commitment to build three classrooms and recruit three teachers to serve the children of the village. UNICEF then trained the teachers and provided teaching and learning materials to the school.
In the next phase of the project, UNICEF will connect the water supply to the school for drinking and hand-washing and lay water pipes from the borehole to reach community members in outlying areas.
At the handing-over ceremony in February, Minister of Interior for Galmadug Regional State of Somalia, Ahmed Mohamed Hashi said, “Water is life and is the most precious gift to give to any human for survival. UNICEF gets the credit for changing the life style of Saddex Higlo community”.
Responding, UNICEF Representative to Somalia, Rozanne Chorlton said, “It is wonderful to see the water problem of this village resolved. This community waited quite a long time for permanent water, and I am delighted to see them happy and benefiting from a new school too.”