Celebrating clean and safe water in Wi Seneeta village, South Darfur
UNICEF connects more and more communities to water facilities
For many years, communities in Wi Seneeta village, Um Dafoug locality struggled to access clean and safe water. They often trekked long distances to the nearest water source located two hours away. Even then, the water was dirty, contaminated, and unsafe, exposing them to diseases.
Recently, their lives changed for the better when UNICEF unveiled a new solar-powered water system amidst happiness and jubilation. The water source rehabilitated with the generous support of the United States Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration will benefit about 5,000 people including refugees and their livestock.
Children could not hide their excitement as they turned on the taps. The water is readily available whenever they need it and close to their homes. For many of them, the burden of searching and collecting water from faraway places had been lifted.
The spacious yard contains multiple taps that support collection of water by several people simultaneously. The waiting times and long queues for water are no more.
14-year-old Kaltoum Mohamed Ibrahim (left) is at the water yard and likes everything about it. “I like the shiny pipes and the fresh clear water. Now I can drink more water,” she said.
“I particularly like that I no longer have to walk four hours to and from the previous water point to collect four jerrycans of water for my mother. I will have more time to play with my friends.”
While some children filled cups to quench their thirst under the scorching sun, others filled sizeable water containers in just a few minutes. Unlike other water systems, solar-powered systems supply water for multiple purposes, making water available to a larger population including schools and health facilities. During 2023, the water will also be connected to Alsanita health facility to reduce the risk of infection for patients seeking healthcare services and improve the hygiene if the environments.
As part of Humanitarian Programme Development continuum, the water system will also benefit the large livestock population especially for the nomadic communities. Water troughs were constructed and connected to the water system for their consumption.
The water point will also serve as a convergence place for the nomad, refugee, and host communities, fostering social cohesion and strengthening peaceful co-existence.
In future, the communities shall own and manage the operation and maintenance of the water system which will ensure the taps don’t run dry. The responsibilities were handed over to the newly constituted water user committee which will not only support continued water supply but also ensure community ownership. Excited about the tasks that lay ahead, the committee started their tenure with community awareness raising drives on proper use and maintenance of the new water facility.
In the same community, UNICEF is rolling out community led total sanitation and so far, more than 15 communities are living in environments free of open defecation. Clean water, adequate hygiene and sanitation go hand in hand.
With access to safe and clean drinking water, coupled with proper sanitation and hygiene practices, the health, development, safety and livelihoods of children and their families is destined to improve.