Dorothy Tells You What Clean Water Means to Her Village

11/10/14

Fourteen-year-old Dorothy is all too used to skipping school. Before a well was installed near her home in Chirombo, Malawi, she and the other girls in her village spent the majority of their time fetching water for their homes.

 
Sources of clean water were difficult to access, and the community regularly had to resort to using shallow water pools that formed along rivers frequented by animals. Unfortunately, these pools would dry up quickly, forcing Dorothy and the other girls to travel long distances to reach a new water source.
 
     Dorothy got used to skipping school to collect water before partners like you helped install a well in her village.
 
Water-borne illnesses were a familiar problem in Chirombo—diarrhea was especially common, but the village also dealt with more serious infections like cholera. The hospitals were too far away to be helpful when caring for patients suffering from diarrhea, and adults in the community couldn’t be productive when they were busy caring for the sick. 
 
Now all that has changed. Thanks to generous COTN partners, Dorothy’s village now has a well nearby. The women and schoolgirls no longer have to spend their days gathering water for household use; instead, Dorothy says, “Children are able to concentrate on education and guardians also have time to take part in community development projects instead of taking care of the sick.” Dorothy is happy to focus on her studies and quit skipping class. 
 
                               The new well is just a short walk from Dorothy's home, and it's easy to use. 
 
This dependable source of clean water will save time and reduce the constant presence of illness in Dorothy’s village—but that’s not all Dorothy is hoping for.
 
Before they had the well, Dorothy says, “we had problems in our homes.” Since women do most of the household chores, being away from home so much was creating conflict. “Women were accused of not doing enough in the home because they were spending most of their time fetching water.” Now, women can be present more at home. In addition, the villagers’ general hygiene is improving, since families don’t have to be quite as fastidious about how and when they use their water. 
 
The new well not only provides Dorothy and other children with clean, healthy water; it makes it easier for the women of Chirombo to get other projects done at home, since they don't have to travel far for water.
 
Help Dorothy take the next step! Create community health clubs to teach families better sanitation practices in Malawi.