ACTED has been working with communities in Somalia to improve access to safe water, something that is sorely needed in a country where over half the population lacks access to basic water supply and sanitation facilities.
Internally displaced communities lacking access to water often turn to unsafe water sources. Drinking unclean water can lead to serious health issues and encourage the development of water-born diseases. From April 2020 to April 2021, ACTED worked in Bardera, a town in Gedo Region of Somalia.
According to UNICEF only 52% of the population in Somalia have access to a basic water supply. In Bardera recurrent floods undermine water and sanitation access for riverside communities, and seasonal flooding also limits water access and destroys sanitation facilities. Conflict and insecurity in Bardera also hinder populations to make journeys in order to collect water. These challenges contribute to improper hygiene practices such as consuming unsafe water and open defecation, which in turn lead to significant health risks among communities.
To reduce the walking distance to water sources, ACTED has constructed shallow wells and water kiosks and undertaken pipeline extension to link the two. Community members no longer have to risk harassment and assault when walking long distances to collect water, and there is more time in the day to focus on improving other areas of life.
Ahmed Abdullahi is a 65-year-old father and an internally displaced resident in the Xabal Cadey Camp for IDPs. Ahmed fled from Dinsoor District in Bay Region due to armed conflict and the presence of armed militia. His wife and him did not have access to water before ACTED’s intervention.
My wife used to collect water from the river which is 3 km away. She used to carry water on her back, which was difficult and tiring for her.
ACTED has also constructed 84 latrines and equipped them with solar lights to improve security and safety especially for women and children. Handwashing facilities were also constructed in order to improve sanitation and hygiene. This has been done to reduce the practice of open defecation and increase positive sanitation practices. In particular, the handwashing stations also allow community members to uphold positive hygiene practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19.