Clean Water, Healthy Family
Fantanesh Admasu is a 50-year-old woman who lives on the outskirts of Burie town. She has lived in Burie since she was 8 years old. Fantanesh lives with her granddaughter Blen in a home that the community built for her as a charity. Her only son Alemkere, who was in the army, couldn't provide and care for her and his daughter Blen. Fantanesh said, "I have a son named Alemkere who used to be in the army, but he was recently laid off and he no longer has a permanent job. I haven't had the chance to hear from him for a while now, but I know that he will always do whatever he has to do to survive. I live with my only granddaughter Blen who is four years old now. Since her father Alemkere couldn't take care of her I took her when she was born. I do whatever I can to give Blen a normal childhood."
Fantanesh makes money out of selling “Areke” which is a local alcoholic drink in Ethiopia. “I buy the alcohol from a distributor for 70 Birr per bottle and make a profit of 1 Birr and 50 cents on it. I was fortunate enough to have the community build me this house. I have a place to rest my back on and I can sell the alcohol right here from my house,” explained Fantanesh.
We've always been very careful not to waste a lot of water because it's so scarce.
Like many women in Ethiopia, Fantanesh is responsible in taking care of the house chores. She cleans, cooks and also used to collect water from a river. She said, “As far back as I remember Yeser River has been our main water source. But recently it has gotten very difficult to fetch water from it. After the long trip to the River, I had to wait in line for many hours. As the River is in a ditch it is dangerous for an old woman like me to try and fetch water from it. The young boys near the river help me by collecting the water from the river. I then carry it on my back and start the long journey back home. We've always been very careful not to waste a lot of water because it's so scarce.”
Due to the lack of pure drinking water, Fantanesh and Blen were forced to drink the water they got from the river. Since the river is highly contaminated, they became ill several times because of it. Fantanesh elaborates, “the most difficult part is that the water is not pure and contains a lot of debris. It isn't intended to be used as drinking water, but since we didn't have any other options, Blen and I used it as drinking water. We don't have water purifying tablets, so we've gotten sick from it several times, luckily, we've always recovered.”
Thankfully all of that is over now. Tap water has been provided for them at their front door. Now, Fantanesh and her granddaughter Blen have access to clean drinking water. Fantanesh is among the people that WaterAid supported through its Strengthening Systems for Scaling-up of Multi-Village System for Resilience project.
“My neighbours and I are grateful for everything you've done. I can't tell you how much easier you've made our lives. You saved us all. We didn't have the resources to get treatment for the illnesses brought on by the river water. And now I don't have to worry about Blen getting sick from it. I am ecstatic and still in awe that it is this simple and possible to obtain a pure cup of water to drink.’’
I am ecstatic and still in awe that it is this simple and possible to obtain a pure cup of water to drink.
My Granddaughter still makes fun of me whenever I get excited to turn on the faucet to see water flowing out. We consider ourselves fortunate to have you on our side. I pray that God will guide all of you who worked so hard to get us this tap,” said Fantanesh.
Strengthening Systems for Scaling-up of Multi-Village System for Resilience is a project for the piloting of multi village systems, advocacy and communication funded by UK People's Post Code Lottery (PPL) - Climate Action Fund. The project aims to enhance the resilience of vulnerable communities (pro-poor and marginalized households) in Bure Zuriya District and Burie Town administration on Climate Change through climate-resilient WASH initiatives. The intervention will focus on strengthening and scaling-up of a resilience Multi-Village System.