By Sarah Easter, CARE Germany and CARE Austria
Climate change is affecting communities in Ethiopia. The country is facing the worst drought in the last 40 years. Livestock are dying and the fields are not producing enough crops. Livelihoods - and lives - are at risk.
It is the women and girls that need to go and find water. It can take up to two hours of walking to find a source. Girls drop out of school, because they have to walk the whole day to fetch water for their families.
After walking for hours, the women and girls find a small water hole or a stream that still has water. The water is dirty. Livestock also drink from it. Drinking contaminated water full of bacteria has serious health effects that can compromise the immune system severely, cause infections and sometimes even lead to death. “Little worms live in the water, that suck the blood out of your mouth. Drinking water from an unprotected source made us very ill. Diarrhoea and vomiting are the most common,” explains Bosse, 40.
That is why it is crucial to have access to a protected water source. CARE is supporting communities by building wells and water pumps close to the villages, and providing filtration systems to ensure access to clean water. The area around the water pump is protected by the community.
Access to water is also for farmers very important. CARE helps farmers with a solar-powered irrigation system. Before Amsal’s fields were dry and she always faced the risk of losing her crops. Her fields are now supplied with enough water and she can better support her seven children.
Women and girls not only have to walk far to fetch water, but also firewood for cooking. Cooking on an open fire has a lot of health issues when breathing in the smoke. With a special energy-saving stove there is only a little smoke, and less firewood is needed. CARE provides training for women and teaches them how to build these energy-saving stoves. They then build and sell them in their community and have their own business.
Communities in Ethiopia are living with the effects of climate change on a daily basis. They are facing many challenges such as the current drought.
The time for action on climate justice is now. World leaders are gathering at the 27th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27), which takes place in Egypt from November in Egypt. CARE is calling for decisive action in response to the near-apocalyptic crises the world has experienced in 2022.