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Staff blog: surviving without a lasting water source

Blog by Karl Deering, CARE International UK Climate Change and Food Security Team Leader

Elema Boru raises livestock in southern Ethiopia © CAREElema Boru raises livestock in southern Ethiopia © CARE Today I met a pastoralist (a person involved with livestock rearing) called Elema Boru. Elema lives in the village of Karsa Kermsa in Dire District, southern Ethiopia. The village is located in a remote, semi-arid area that has no lasting water source.

Combatting water shortages

This community and others like it suffer from regular water shortage due to drought. They keep cattle and goats, and shortages can have immediate effects on their livelihoods if cattle and goats have no water or pasture.

Water shortages will result in the cattle losing weight and therefore value as they become less healthy. In extreme cases the cattle will die. But Elema told me that she and her neighbours are a lot more confident because they have developed a water catchment pond. This pond, that can retain water, will keep their animals healthy and it means they no longer have to walk miles in search of water.

Dima Malicha's savings cooperative has led to larger herds © CAREDima Malicha's savings cooperative has led to larger herds © CAREA savings and credit cooperative

She also explained that she is a member of the local saving and credit cooperative which is supported by CARE. The objective of the group is to increase the community’s ability to deal with the regular droughts that they experience.

The group realised they need help to increase their income. They received training in business development and basic financial literacy skills and they purchased soap, oil, sugar and other essentials to sell in the cooperative shop.

Another woman in the group, Dima Malicha, told me that the income raised by the cooperative and the fact that they can take out loans has allowed them to increase their herds. Having more cattle means more milk that can be sold at the market – this extra money can be used to send children to school and this is exactly what Dima has done – something that would not have been possible before.

I left this group of women inspired by their collective work ethic and commitment to working together to manage their resources and increasing their community wellbeing.

Karl Deering, CARE International UK Climate Change and Food Security Team LeaderAbout the author:

Karl Deering is CARE International UK's Climate Change and Food Secutiry Team Leader. His main role is to ensure CARE International UK continues to deliver high quality programmes that enable communities to break away from long term food insecurity.

Food security refers to a household's physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that fulfills the dietary needs and food preferences of that household for living an active and healthy life. Larissa advises on food security programming, coordinating knowledge and response with other Non-Governmental Organisations and the UN system; and guaranteeing that CARE and others learn from our work.

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