Many villagers in Chad obtain water from unhygienic sources. New wells are urgently needed. This project aims to improve the access to water and its quality throughout the year. Three specific regions are benefitting from this: Logone Occidental, Logone Oriental and Tandjilé.
When new wells are built, people are also sensitised to hygiene issues. Regular hand washing helps to reduce the spread of disease.
“At last we no longer have to drink water contaminated by germs,” says Menodji Debora, standing proudly beside the new well in Madana. Before the waterhole was dug, the 13-year-old spent many hours every day fetching water. The gruelling search for water, which in Chad is mainly the responsibility of women and girls, made it impossible for her to attend school. “Today I can supply the whole family with water quickly and easily,” she says, “and I have time to go to school.”
Although Chad has groundwater resources, drinking water is still a scarce commodity. Only every second inhabitant has access to the precious liquid. The others are forced to get their supplies from unsafe sources such as rivers and open wells. If it is not treated, this water is dangerous – especially for children. Dirty drinking water is one of the main reasons why the infant mortality rate in Chad is so high: one in ten children dies before their fifth birthday.
Thanks to the new village wells, women and girls no longer have to walk for hours to fetch water.
So that the water is clean...
For many years, SWISSAID has been involved with water projects in southern Chad, where the inhabitants hardly benefit at all from state health projects. In the last seven years, 110 wells, 13 latrines for schools and a health centre have been built as part of this project alone – 42,100 villagers have been given access to drinking water.
In 2018, SWISSAID extended the water project to the Andoum and Dodinda regions in western Logone. In that area, 43,317 inhabitants have to share 23 water pumps, that’s 1,883 people per pump – a ridiculous coverage compared to national standards (1 pump for 400 inhabitants). In future, thanks to 12 new wells, 13,500 villagers will be able to obtain clean drinking water here too.
After the preparatory work it is time to drill the well.
... and people stay healthy
If all we did was build wells, the project would not be very successful: issues such as budget management, upkeep, sanitation and hygiene standards are an important aspect of every construction. For each well, a village committee is formed with the job of keeping the well going. The committee collects monthly water contributions from the households, manages the money and uses it for the maintenance and repair of the wells. On-site workshops are equipped and people trained for the maintenance of the water points.
Villagers and pupils are trained in hygiene practice: if you know how important it is to wash your hands and scrub them properly, you can prevent diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera. “The well has brought health to our village,” says one beneficiary. “Many of the diseases that used to plague us no longer exist. We can move on to other things now.” Girls go to school and women work in the fields, for example – opening up completely new opportunities for the entire community.