GUSHING TAPS AND DASHING SMILES: Clean Water Improves Children’s Hygiene in Abduwak

Yamyam Primary School in Abduwak District Somalia.

Thorn trees stretch in a stubborn thicket for hundreds of miles in every direction of Abduwak District, Somalia. The region is characterized by hot and dry weather most of the year except for some unreliable torrential rains which fall in April and October. Amidst the hot blowing wind and the fog of red sand, Yamyam Primary School is a beacon of optimism in the desolate arid area. Yamyam primary school is a community school located in an IDP camp in Abudwak district, with a population of 130 students and 4 teachers. The school, however, faces a myriad of challenges.

Access to safe and clean water has been one of the biggest challenges for this school. Intermittent supply of piped water from the village borehole led to poor hygiene practices among the school population which exposed the students to water-borne diseases. This meant there was increased school absenteeism due to these diseases, while other pupils come to school late because they had to look for water before coming to school. If teachers became sick, classes were canceled for all students” Recalls school Principal Siciido Mohamed Abdi

Nomadic Assistance for Peace and Development (NAPAD) in collaboration with Medico International (MI) and German Humanitarian Assistance (GFFO) supported the school in the construction of a 5000L berkad (water reservoir) and the rehabilitation of twin gender-segregated pit Latrines.

A water reservoir constructed in Yamyam Primary to ensure a constant supply of water.

We used to buy water from nearby places to provide for the students which was difficult and expensive for the school. Things have changed because we now have a berkad full of water. The water is clean and safe for human consumption. We fill the berkad with water from the tap and it provides enough water for the school community, which has brought more convenience to the school routine, “admits Siciido.

NAPAD staff worked together with the school staff to ensure that the necessary conditions were created so that girls and female teachers would be able to go to school without interruption. This included the rehabilitation of gender-separated latrines and washing facilities in the school. The latrines have lockable doors from inside to provide privacy and security for the students. Also, a crucial aspect of the project was ensuring the sanitation facilities are inclusive to facilitate accessibility by people living with disabilities to guarantee that this group of people will be able to use the facilities as independently and safely as possible.

The newly rehabilitated latrines

Many of the female students have dropped out of school over the years due to shame and distress especially when there is no clean water at school to wash and dry themselves or to go to the toilet at all without disturbance. I believe that this is a new dawn for the education of our girls as they can now come to school and learn comfortably,” Says Siciido.

“I believe that this is a new dawn for the education of our girls as they can now come to school and learn comfortably”

Siccido Mohammed

Hand washing is now habitual and has enhanced hygiene practices among the pupils reducing diseases and increasing class attendance rates. Water gushing out of the taps has given the children nothing but dashing smiles and bright healthy futures.

Students of Yamyam primary using the new taps: This will promote hygiene in the school

PROMOTING HYGIENE AND SANITATION IN SOMALIA’S RURAL COMMUNITIES ADMIST CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC

To reduce water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)-related diseases in IDP camps and Host communities in Somalia, NAPAD continues to support community behavioral change through participatory hygiene promotion campaigns and establishment of water storage and sanitation facilities such as latrines in at risk communities.

NAPAD staff and community hygiene promoters facilitating CLTS training.

In March 2020, Nomadic Assistance for Peace and Development (NAPAD) in partnership Medico International with funding from German Federal Foreign Office intensified hygiene and sanitation awareness campaigns in Abduwak district, Somalia. Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) triggering exercises, mobilized 240 Households in Herale, Inagabille, Dalsan and Labogalle to disseminate hygiene information that would encourage communities to eliminate open defecation through self-appraisal and analysis of open defecation and take action to become open defecation free. These sanitation and hygiene interventions are especially important in mitigating outbreak of Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWDs) and more importantly mitigate COVID-19 transmission in the community.

CLTS facilitators and community members conduct transect walk in Inagabille village

As of 11th of May, confirmed COVID 19 cases in Africa are 69,707 with 2,399 deaths reported. Currently, Somalia has reported 1205 active cases and 53 deaths. The increase in cases is largely due to community transmission largely perpetuated by lack of hygiene facilities and little or no information on proper hand washing for disease control. World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that if the virus transmission is not slowed down rapidly, the patient surge and increasing demand for health care will overwhelm the Somali’s fragile health system. Key to this prevention of transmission as recommended by WHO is the promotion of maintenance of general hygiene among community members.

A hygiene promoter instructing Dalsan community members on proper hand-washing technique
Community members in Dalsan practicing proper hand-washing technique

In helping build Somalia’s Education, Health and Sanitation sector, NAPAD has also constructed Berkerds and Latrines fitted with hand-washing stations such as those at Amana Health Centre in Robday and Yamyam primary school. These facilities will ensure the most vulnerable, who include women and children have access to clean water.

Yamyam Primary School access clean water from the newly constructed Berkard.

The provision of safe water, sanitation and adequate hygiene (WASH) is essential to protecting human health during all infectious disease outbreaks. This will also build communities that are environmentally healthy and resilient in terms of managing environmental risks associated with sanitation and hygiene.

Durable Solutions: Hybrid water Solar System Powers Mandera Borehole One Year On

In the scorching sun of Kenya’s North Eastern County, Mandera, Arabia Borehole stack in Arabia Village breaks the dreariness of the vast brown arid land.  A group of herders congregate at the main water point surrounded by clusters of animals as they water in unison and rhythm. It has been more than a year now that herders from the larger Arabia ward are watering their livestock without a hitch. Mohamed Hassan, a herder hailing from Lethi village recalls how the situation was like before the installation of the hybrid solar water pumping system.

”There are times when we would travel tens of Kilometers to the borehole from our villages, only to be told the diesel engine isn’t functioning. We had to wait for a technical person from Mandera to fix which would take days. As a result, we were forced to trek 20KM to 30KM in search of water to other villages such as Omar Jilow which is 30km from Arabia,” says Mohamed.

One and a half years ago, NAPAD in partnership with Medico International (MI) installed a hybrid solar water pumping system at the borehole. Before installation of the solar water pump in October 2018, the borehole used a diesel powered generator, consuming up to 80 litres of diesel per day, each litre costing 100 shillings. Now that the solar water pumping system is in use, the diesel consumption and engine maintenance has reduced by half, with the engine consuming only 30 litres a day.

“The solar water pump has helped us save a lot of fuel as we have to alternate energies unlike before…”

Abdi

”We use the solar during the day from 9am to 4.30 pm then at night, we switch the engine on. The solar water pump has helped us save a lot of fuel as we have to alternate energies unlike before,” says Abdi Weli the borehole operator.

The use of the solar has helped the engine rest before it resuming its function after sunset. According to the borehole operator, the constant engine breakdown was as a result of the constant use, hence shortening the life span of the engine.

The drinking water fee has also reduced by almost half since the installation of the Solar. Prior to the solar installation, a 20 litre jerrican of water costed 5 shillings while now the price reduced to 3 shillings. This has provided respite for the herders who in the past paid exorbitant fees in order to access the borehole water daily. Currently, more than 15,000 herds of livestock access Arabia borehole for water on daily basis.

Not far from Mohamed are group of women fetching water for domestic use.  Donkey carts, jerricans and drums owned by herders line up in an open water kiosk waiting for their turn to be filled. Just like the herders, the women are feeling sense of relief since installation of the solar. The price of water has reduced half and water fetching is not limited during the day only unlike previous times.

“We can come here any time to fetch water. Whether we come during the day, evening or night, we access the borehole and fetch water…”

Fatuma

”We can come here any time to fetch water. Whether we come during the day, evening or night, we access the borehole and fetch water,” says Fatuma Ahmed, resident of Busbus village.

As a result of readily available water, the borehole management expanded water access by extending water pipes to 10 nearby homes with the intention of increasing revenue for the borehole. The initiative helped managed mothers received water in the comfort of their homes without struggle.

”I no longer trek in the scorching sun. I access the water tap away from my home. Without NAPAD and its partner, this would have not been possible. Thank you one thousand times,” remarks Halima Saidia, a beneficiary of the project.

Using Clean Energy For Water Access and Improved Livelihoods

Ahmed Hassan Hersi, 39, boasts 26 goats and 58 camels which besides being his pride are his main source of income. Life for the father of seven entails looking after his family as well as his 84 livestock in equal measure. Providing pasture and water for his animals is what Hersi lives for in Inagabile, a village about 70km away from Abudwak District sequestered in Somalia’s Galguduud region with limited access to transport. Water is scarce and the small water tank in the village is rarely sufficient for both human and livestock consumption.

“In many occasions, I had to fetch water for my family and livestock from the nearby villages 6km from here, and when the drought hits, the animals are first to succumb to thirst and hunger…”

Ahmed Hersi

“In many occasions, I had to fetch water for my family and livestock from the nearby villages 6km from here, and when the drought hits, the animals are first to succumb to thirst and hunger. The cows are usually the first to die, then the goats. The Camels can survive for a while,” says Hersi.   

Hersi’s wife leads one of their camels to the animal water trough and water kiosk

Like Hersi, approximately 300 households living in Inagabile Village largely depend on their livestock. Intervening for the residents, NAPAD with funding from its partners, Medico International and the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) constructed two animal troughs, a water kiosk, water tank and a solar pump.

Some of Hersi Camels drinking water from the animal trough

Before solar installation for water pumping , residents used a motor generator to pump water from the borehole which consumed a lot of fuel. The installation of solar panels in Inagabile helped not only in providing clean, safe and accessible water from the borehole, but reduced usage of the fossil fuels which emit toxins and global warming emissions.

“We didn’t have money to buy fuel and most of the times the generator was shut off due to lack of fuel,” says Hersi.

The project which sought to protect livelihoods and provide water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions for vulnerable communities provided support for Inagabile residents between June 2019 and February 2020. By using clean solar energy to pump water for about 300 households and 15,000 livestock, Inagabile residents now have access to 60,000 liters of clean and affordable water everyday.

“There’s plenty of water now within the village. I never thought I would go back to being a farmer…”

AHMED HERSI
Residents fetch water from the Inagabile Village water kiosk

“There’s plenty of water now within the village. I never thought I would go back to being a farmer, but now I am considering another source of income through farming.”

For families like Hersi’s, the construction of  new water troughs, water tank and the water kiosk not only means access to safe, clean drinking water, but is a sign that their home town is starting to build.

“The situation here is very good now, the water issue has been resolved and I can start working on the basic needs to support my family. I thank God that through NAPAD in partnership with its donors that our prayers have been answered. I urge you to continue the goodwill and help more people to get access to clean and affordable water,” says Hersi.

Fully-fledged Solar Water System Handed-over to Drought-prone Village

In the southern Gedo region of Somalia is Unna Village located in Dolow District. Amidst the sweltering heat, pairs of donkeys ferrying jerrycans of water is a common sight in the parched village. Clean flowing water is rare and many in the drought-prone area do not have access. In most instances shallow wells which occasionally dry up are what many rely on for drinking, domestic use and for their animals. In Unna Village, their only water source is River Dawa, located three kilometres away.

After enduring long treks to the river to fetch water, the community in Unna Village now have their own solar-powered water system. This is after NAPAD implemented a WASH Support for Drought Affected Communities with funding from its partner, Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) in 2019. Harnessing the readily available solar energy in the hot and arid area, NAPAD rehabilitated the village water infrastructures and erected a water system consisting of a protected shallow well, a solar powered pumping system, water transmission pipework, an elevated water tank, and a water kiosk.

The Unna Village water kiosk was established on October 2019

“NAPAD and its partner have done something good for us. They have addressed one of our pressing needs, accessing water near our households. We were also trained on how to build operate the solar pumping system and best practices in water management and hygiene. We have in turn trained others in the village on the same. As a community, we are ready to take care of the property and utilize it very well,” said Abdirashid Muhumed, the village Chief.

NAPAD’s liason officer (left) hands over to Dolow’s Public Service Relations officer (right) as Unna village Chief looks on

Stewardship of the water system was officially handed over to the Unna Water Management Committee and the Dolow local authority on 15 January and is set to supply over 700 Unna village residents with safe water. In a handover ceremony attended by the Dolow District’s Head of Humanitarian Coordination and Public Service Relations office, Unna Village Chief and elders, NAPAD handed over the management of the water system as the villagers witnessed the occasion. The handover occasion was also attended by WASH cluster partners in Dolow including IOM, World Vision, HIRDA, NARDO, among others.

WASH cluster representative address community during the handover ceremony on 15 January

“We thank NAPAD for the good work it has done and we are very proud to have NAPAD as our partner in this project. They have ascertained the sustainability of the project through the solar powered pumping system and I hope the community will manage the water system accordingly moving forward,” said Thomas Odongo, NCA area engineer.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Unna Village water system by Dolow local authorities

The water project has not only enabled Unna residents to access clean water at close proximity but has also promoted improved hygiene practices among households for prevention and control of acute watery disease. Water committees have been trained to manage the operation and maintenance of the water system beyond the project period. NAPAD also mobilized community health promoters to create awareness on water conservation and good hygiene practices during commemoration of key days such as the Global Handwashing Day and World Toilet Day.

The Unna village water kiosk is set to serve over 700 people

“This entire project has brought dignity to our village because people from neighbouring communities come to our village for water and hygiene related activities. We therefore not only urge all those who have been trained but each and every person in a village to take care of this water system,” said Awes Nunow Ali, Deputy Chief of Unna Village.

NAPAD Marks Global Handwashing Day In Abudwaq And Dollow Districts With Partners

NAPAD marked Global Handwashing Day 2019 by conducting mass handwashing exercises in Dollow and Abudwaq Districts reaching over 300 people. Partnering with the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), NAPAD conducted a handwashing exercise at Unna Primary School in Dollow District. While in Abudwaq District, NAPAD alongside Medico International and the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) marked the event with in a colourful handwashing campaign in Landheer IDP Primary School.

Community members demonstrating proper handwashing in Landheer IDP Primary School, Abudwaq District

With support from its partners, NAPAD conducted the two handwashing campaigns simultaneously during the annual Global Handwashing Day observed on October 15. In Abudwaq District, 140 people were reached while 220 people were reached in Dollow District. School Children, women groups, community elders, and religious leaders were reached in the hygiene promotion outreach campaigns and sensitized about good hygiene practices and positive behavioural changes, including proper hand washing with soap and water.

School Children taking part in the handwashing exercise in Unna Primary School. NAPAD with its partner NCA emphasized importance of clean hands

The handwashing demonstrations conducted by community health workers relayed the 7-step handwashing technique and importance of using soap as an effective, simple and affordable way to prevent diseases. NAPAD field team discussed the importance of hygiene for both health and social reasons and proper disposal of human excreta to curb spread of diseases especially  acute watery diarrhoea and cholera.

School teachers in Landheer Primary School demonstrate proper handwashing with soap and water. Medico International and GFFO supported the campaign reaching 140 people

In areas where water is scarce and there is hardly any running water, villagers especially children suffer from diseases due to poor hygiene. The lack of sanitation, safe water facilities and services and poor hygiene are significant contributors to the high rates of diseases in Somalia. In light of this, NAPAD discussed with the community on the most critical times to wash hands; after visiting the toilet, before eating food, before preparing food, after cleaning childrens’ pot, before breastfeeding, after coughing or sneezing, and after being in contact with animals.

Some of the participants of handwashing exercise in Landheer Primary School

The Global Handwashing 2019 theme of ‘Clean Hands for All’ stressed the need for inclusivity in addressing handwashing disparities. It also focused on the links between handwashing and food- including hygiene and nutrition.

Women group members in Dollow District participate in the handwashing exercise

By marking the yearly handwashing day through campaigns, NAPAD’s advocacy does not end there. NAPAD has been providing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) interventions for over 12 years reaching over 55,000 people. Currently, NAPAD and NCA have partnered for a WASH recovery project for vulnerable rural communities in Dollow, Gedo Region through construction of a shallow well and establishment of a water kiosk that will benefit 280 households. In addition, NAPAD is working with MI in construction of an elevated water tank and a water kiosk in Inagabiley, Galgadud region.