Clean water in Congo villages raise healthy families and thriving livelihoods

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

“I am very happy to have access to clean water in our house”, said 36-year old Annie Likambelo. Divorced and with two children Cynthicke, 11 and Asnatte, 8, Mama Annie is referring to the development of Shungu spring for their water supply along with 4,070 households.

“Before, we have to walk quite a distance from our house to carry 25 liters of water and it was not even enough for our needs. I cannot finish my work planned for the day and spent most of my time queuing at the fountain. The line was always long”, she said. Annie, fondly called Mama Annie by everyone in the village, shared her children were often exposed to abuse and violence when they fetch water on their own.

“Now that we have the clean water in our district, my family and I can get the supply anytime", she added. World Vision’s water, sanitations and hygiene (WASH) project developed the spring in Gemena, a district of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that has an acute problem of clean water.

World Vision made the Shungu spring development project possible in partnership with Evangelical Community of Christ in Ubangi (CECU) and the Evangelical Covenant Church (CEC) and provided relief for the population of Gemena. Before the rehabilitation, the population walked for at least two kilometers on foot in search of the drinking water. Now, the distance reduced to 500 meters and the access became easier.

The living conditions in the district has gradually improved. For Annie, water is not only for drinking but also for livelihood. She sells cold water and juice made of fresh water that allow her to earn 5000 Francs (US$4) per day. Annie said, “This helps me feed my children, pay for their school fees and send them to the clinic when they do not feel well.”

She continued, "Being a divorced woman, I dependent on the help of my older brother for our other essential needs. Selling juice made me financially independent.” She added smiling that her daughter Asnatte cannot believe they now enjoy drinking water in the district. She added, “With the water, my family and I are healthy.”

“For sustainability of the spring water system, the community people pays for water at 50 Francs ($0.04$) per jerry can of 25 liters. The nine members of water management committees were trained on water management, water borne diseases prevention, hygiene and sanitation by the Ministry of Health (MoH) experts.

“The government also helped promote awareness on health and hygiene on the people who come to fetch water”, said Billy Baraka MMugisha, World Vision’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Specialist. “I am very thankful to World Vision, its partners and donors for the support they have provided to me and community members to have clean water”, said Annie.