We’ve all read about how Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. But have you ever read about how people in Mandera, north eastern Kenya, can walk a round trip of up to 100 kilometres (62 miles) to fetch water?
For someone who only has to walk a few paces to get clean running water, this is incomprehensible; especially when you consider that these people have to walk this distance in temperatures of up to 40˚C. I almost consider trying it just to see if I can make it and appreciate the suffering that these people have to endure.
But this journey is one fraught with danger. Water is in such short supply that violence regularly breaks out at the few remaining wells – with many innocent women and children wounded or killed.
Practical Action is reducing the trek that people have to make to fetch water by rehabilitating shallow wells dug into seasonal river beds.
I spoke to a woman at one of the rehabilitated shallow wells who said she now only has to walk two kilometres to fetch water and feels much safer. While I was there, I was told by several pastoralists that the trough next to the shallow well gives their livestock easy access to water and as a result, is helping to keep them alive.
Patoralist Adan Ibrahim said: “The rehabilitation of these wells and the building of new wells is crucial to the livestock because they will always have water. This will ensure that they survive the drought until the next rains come.”
It’s clear that amongst the complex solutions we’re introducing to this area, this simple technology is a life-saving answer.
This is why it’s so critical for us to dig more wells and rehabilitate more wells. 90,000 households across Mandera county depend on them.
Find out more about our shallow well work.