The village community of Tullu Nacha in Ethiopia, including the Tully Jaldessa Primary School, has had no access to a clean water supply. Water for drinking, handwashing and domestic use in the village and school previously came from unsafe sources and was shared with livestock, putting the villagers at risk of waterborne diseases.
Disease and sickness caused by unsafe water have been the main health problems for the local population. It also reduced the productivity of local farmers and pupils’ attendance at school.
The Halcrow Foundation funded a water, sanitation and hygiene project to improve the village’s water supply. The project includes capping a spring, constructing water storage chambers, building water points and an animal trough, laying almost 2000 metres of pipeline and building a storage tank at the school.
This low-tech water supply system requires little operation and maintenance and is not reliant on expensive spare parts. The construction was carried out by the community using local skilled labour, and training was given to ensure the project is sustainable.
Thanks to the project, the improved and sustainable supply of water is promoting better hygiene practices within the primary school and wider community. This addresses the problems of pupils and teachers missing school days and the reduced productivity of subsistence farmers due to illness. It also greatly reduces the cases of diarrhoea and sickness caused by unsafe drinking and handwashing water in pregnant women and young children.
The project will also make life much easier for the children and staff in the school, reducing health risks and improving the learning environment and attendance rates during extreme dry periods. It also means the female villagers and pupils will spend less time collecting water every day, which allows more time to be spent on studying or opportunities to generate household income.
The safe water supply also improve farmers’ livelihoods, helping them produce healthier livestock with increased milk production and fattening rates. Reduced sickness rates caused by waterborne diseases also give subsistence farmers more time to prepare land and tend to crops, resulting in better crop yields.