The difference your donation makes
In 2016, donations by CARE supporters to our first Help Her Live, Learn and Earn campaign enabled CARE to run projects around the world to help girls and women to survive and thrive and so to fulfil their potential.
Those donations were doubled by the UK government – with the UK Aid Match funds going directly to a water, sanitation and women’s rights project in the Afar region of Ethiopia.
Here’s how that project changed the lives of some of the poorest and most marginalised people in Afar.
Safe water for people to drink
Collecting water is traditionally a woman’s job. Before, women had to collect water from the river – water that was not clean or safe to drink. Or they had to dig a hole in the sand and wait many hours for water to seep into the hole. Some villages had a hand pump for water, but these were physically demanding to use – especially for children, elderly or pregnant women – and also broke a lot.
To compare the hand pump to the solar-powered pump is like comparing night to day. – Asakwa
Ferehenu is just one community helped by the project. There, a solar pump has replaced a hand pump. Pipes are being laid to connect the pump to a water tank which in turn will feed two water points.
Water for livestock = more income for poor people
People in Afar are pastoralists and rearing livestock is their main source of food and income. Before, they had to take their animals every day to the river to drink – a journey of several hours. Taking the animals, letting them drink, and bringing them back to the village took up the whole day.
In Gomodoli, a reservoir has been built with a motorised pump powered by a generator (the community plans to replace this with a solar-powered generator). As well as taps and a sink station for people to use, there is also a cattle trough. Now the animals just drink from the trough – people don’t need to take them to the river.
With the time we save not taking the cattle to the river, we will be able to help the women with tasks like building houses [traditionally a job for women] and looking after the children, and women can go the market and generate an income. – Mohammed
The water system is future-proofed
The water system is managed by a committee made up of community members. All households agree to pay a monthly fee for their water which the committee uses to manage the running and upkeep of the water system. The project is training 13 community members with the technical knowledge and skills to maintain the systems.
Improved sanitation and hygiene = people are healthier
Communities have been trained on personal hygiene and waste management. Now people have stopped open defecation and dig their own latrines. Since these changes, there has been a reduction in the number of sick children.
Menstrual hygiene awareness and support = empowered women and girls
Menstruation is a taboo subject in many rural communities. During their period, girls and women often stay at home because of stigma and the lack of sanitary products.
The project has trained teachers in Afar to run hygiene and gender equality clubs in schools. So far, we have trained two teachers from each of the six schools in the area.
I like running the club because I can help the girls who are afraid, when girls have their period they are not active at school and they miss school but this has changed. – Ayal, teacher
The clubs give the girls sanitary pads and underwear which means they will be comfortable and able to attend school, even when it’s their period – meaning they don’t miss out on an education and the chance to fulfil their potential. The schools also run mixed gender classes to teach boys and girls about what menstruation is, removing some of the stigma that surrounds it.
I now have my personality back because I am free to be myself and am not constantly worrying. - Rabya, age 18
Better lives now – and better futures – for girls and women
The changes brought by the project are empowering girls and young women to follow their ambitions. Rabya, age 15, says: “I want to be a teacher who produces doctors and other professionals to help my community.” She told us:
I want to be a change agent for women.
And the project is changing male attitudes too, meaning that the daughters of men like Awalo, a community leader in Billu village, can grow up to live, learn and earn, and help create healthier and more prosperous lives for themselves, their families and their communities. As Awalo says:
The past 15 years has been spent in the dark, and now we are in the light.