Meet the community of Frat in Ethiopia

4 min read
Yenus during a lesson in a classroom in Frat, Ethiopia.

This year, we’ve all had to learn how to help one another in ways we previously couldn’t have imagined – from our loved ones to neighbours we’d never met. In Frat, a community high up on a hillside in Ethiopia, collaborating and adapting are a way of life.

While some families have lived in Frat their whole lives, over the years others have found refuge there from the trauma of extreme drought, famine or ethnic conflict. There’s a strong sense of community spirit; so while life here brings daily challenges, everybody helps each other out.

There is no clean water in Frat. The two main water sources are a polluted river and a large, dirty pond, both of which are dangerous and difficult to get to. And now, the weather is becoming increasingly unpredictable too. The summers are getting hotter. Unexpected storms keep coming. And the crops, their only source of income, are under new threat.

Clean water on tap will free this community from the constant challenges of collecting dirty water that makes them ill. It will give them the security they need to plan for the future. This winter, let's make sure as our climate changes the people of Frat can rely on clean water, today and every day. Get to know some of the wonderful people from Frat and find out how you can be part of our Future on Tap appeal


Yenus, 12, is a helpful and thoughtful boy, loved by his family and his community. He collects water for his family and supports his neighbours when they need help.

His father Ahmed calls him ‘habibi’, which means very sweet and lovely: “He’s so co-operative not only for me but also for the community and the school and for everybody in the village. He’s a very nice boy… he helps other people when they are in need. That's why they love him and he’s so kind for that."


Hawa in Frat, Ethiopia.
Image: WaterAid/ Joey Lawrence

Hawa, the local women's group leader. She's one of those people who seems to be everywhere at once, involved in everything that's going on, constantly working to improve life in the community and never afraid to speak her mind. A mother of four, she grows millet, teff and chilli to make a living.

Her family moved to the area in the 1970s after leaving a place called Wollo that was often struck by drought. She’s worried that another famine could happen because of the impact of climate change.

Her earliest memory is falling down on the rocky path to collect water, from which she still carries a scar on her forehead. She told us: “I’m committed to doing anything I can to get water for the community.”


Aliy Abebe, 58, (left) and Hawa Yimam-Mohamad, 44 (right) in Frat, Ethiopia. February 2020
Aliy Abebe, 58, (left) and Hawa Yimam-Mohamad, 44 (right) in Frat, Ethiopia. February 2020
Image: WaterAid/ Joey Lawrence

Hawa’s older brother Aliy is a Muslim leader who encourages togetherness through his leadership: "This is a village in which Christians and Muslims live together in harmony and love. We help and support each other. In other places, there’s conflict but not here. We live together in peace."

Like Hawa, Aliy is very aware of the impact of climate change: “The climate is changing so much that we are afraid a drought could come again, or that excessive rains will destroy our crops.”

Aliy’s eldest son Ibrahim left Frat to go to the Middle East, in search of a better life. He was abducted and badly beaten in Yemen, only released when Aliy could pay a ransom. He started working in Saudi Arabia but was arrested and deported. Despite the dangers, one of his younger sons, Hasin, also wants to leave for the Middle East. He hates everything about the village.

As any father does, Aliy wants the best for his children and for future generations in Frat. With clean water, there will be more opportunities to make a living and children and adults alike will be healthier and have more time to pursue their dreams. 


Animut with his daughter Aynadis in Frat, Ethiopia.
Animut with his daughter Aynadis in Frat, Ethiopia.
Image: WaterAid/ Joey Lawrence

Animut is a busy farmer and father to his seven-year-old daughter, Aynadis. His family collects water from the pond early in the morning when the water is cold, and the leeches are less active. Their legs and jerry cans often get stuck in the mud.

When parents like Animut are busy farming, their children have to fetch water for the family. One day, Aynadis fell and broke her arm while trying to get out of the mud carrying a jerry can. This isn't the life Animut would choose for his family. Neither he nor his child should have to risk their health by going into this cold and muddy water. Animut wants Aynadis to spend more time getting a good education, so she can go out and live a better life. 

The people of Frat want a secure future and you can help them achieve it – with a tap.

This winter, you can help bring clean water to Frat and even more climate vulnerable communities in Ethiopia. With your support and funding from the UK government, WaterAid will work with local partners in the Berbere region to install a new solar pumping system, and build accessible toilets and water points in three health centres and five schools.

Until 4 February 2021, the UK government will match your donations to the Future on Tap appeal, up to £2 million, making double the impact.