"If I had clean water there would be no sickness"

Mary makes and sells pap, a traditional food that requires a lot of water. But in Olo-Obande there is only one borehole, which is currently broken down.

News

27 Feb 2013 | Nigeria

Mary AcheoMary Acheo, 28, lives in Olo-Obande, a rural community in Ado local government area, Benue, north-central Nigeria. Mary makes and sells pap, a traditional food that requires a lot of water to make. But in Olo-Obande there is only one borehole, which is currently broken down.

She says, "I make this pap out of three sources: maize, millet and guinea corn. Water is very important for me. I need much water for it, and we don't have the access of water here. Now that we have not got to the dry season, I have a hand-dug well in the compound, and sometimes I go to the stream to fetch water from Ado or Boko.

"From here to the stream is very far, and you find it difficult when you fill the water to climb up the hill; it's hard work. During the dry season, I will motorbike with some jerry cans – up to 15 – to the stream to fetch water. Because it is very far, I cannot trek it. The motorbike is not my own, I'm not the one driving it, I just charter it…I have to pay money. When we are going because the jerry cans are empty I don't pay anything, but once I have filled them it's 200 Naira per jerry can.

Mary Acheo shaking hands"It can take the whole day and over 3,000 Naira just to fetch water for making pap and meeting my other needs. The additional costs usually eat into the profit I am able to make. If I had clean water nearby, it would save me both time and money, and I could concentrate more on my business and make more money.

"If the water is not clean, I'm worried because if I use it to make the pap, people will not like it, the pap itself will be dirty and people will not like to buy it, and even though they buy and drink it will make people sick. If I had clean water there would be no sickness. If I use it to make this pap people would rush [to buy] it, because it would look neat."

Together with our partners, we will improve access to safe water in Mary’s community. A water, sanitation and hygiene committee will be trained on how the facilities work and how to maintain them, to ensure the project will continue to transform the lives of people like Mary long-term.