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A Walk to the Water Well

photo ten

Semegn and her daughter

If you were thirsty, imagine taking a six-hour round trip to get some dirty H2O.

That’s what Semegn, a 20-year-old mother from Ethiopia, went through to get water. She is the mother of a 2-year-old daughter and lives in Lay Gayint district in Taria Georgies village.

And she wasn’t alone in her hardship. According to UNICEF, only 31 percent of Ethiopian households have access to safe water.

Now, she goes to a well that Food for the Hungry (FH) helped to build near her home.

“Before this well was dug here in our village, I used to walk six hours round trip to fetch water from the nearby spring,” said Semegn.

“The water source was very dirty and full of mud,” she continues. “During dry seasons, the spring would be low and sometimes I’d come back with empty containers.”

photo five

Semegn’s daughter plays in an unprotected spring.

Most water sources used by Ethiopians cause outbreaks of illness in both rural and urban areas. Poor sanitation from cattle and humans causes water contamination.

photo two

Semegn fills up her containers with clean water.

“Now I walk only half an hour to reach to the water well. It is clean and safe to drink,” Semegn says.

photo seven

Women from Semegn’s village go with her to the well.

“The village water committee is taking care of the well, and we (village members) contribute money regularly for its maintenance and the guard’s salary,” said Semegn.

photo eight

Semegn, her daughter and friends return home.


FH organized a village water committee to oversea water projects in the community. The committee addresses needs like creating irrigation systems, digging sanitation projects like latrines and building more wells.

They also help protect natural resources, so the village can benefit from clean water supplies for years to come.

“The village water committee controls the fair distribution of the water. Compared to the total beneficiaries, the water supply is not enough,” said Semegn. “I come every other day and collect only two containers for cooking, drinking and washing. It is not enough, but it is clean and near.”

You can help build a well in places like Ethiopia and other countries where water is scarce by joining FH in our work to bring clean water to impoverished communities.