International Development - World Water Day
published on 19 Mar 2015
This World Water Day (Sunday 22 March) we find out how access to clean water has changed lives in DRC.
Kisita is 46 years old and lives in Kinkwanga village, Kavwaya with her four children. Like other women in her village, her day begins with a one-hour walk to fetch water from a natural spring, the community’s only water source. Her busy days also include caring for her children, fetching firewood and growing cassava and potatoes to feed her family.
In her village, diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea resulting from poor water, sanitation and hygiene are very common. Kisita said, ‘Every single month I had to visit the health clinic three times to take my children for treatment.’ This was a huge burden on Kisita since the nearest clinic is a two-hour walk away and when her children were very ill she had to carry them on her shoulders.
Kisita knew that the cause of these diseases was unclean water from the open spring. As the spring was unprotected, the water could easily become contaminated by animals or bacteria washed into the spring by rain.
The local Salvation Army worked alongside the community to address this issue. They built concrete protection around the spring and added a pipe to collect the naturally flowing water before it could be contaminated. Recalling the construction process Kisita said, ‘We all contributed our efforts and carried the construction stones and sand because we all face a big health problem and needed to get a solution.’
The newly protected spring has made a difference to Kisita’s daily life. She said, ‘I no longer have to spend days walking to Bakini health clinic because of frequent ailments. This has saved me lots of time which I now use to tend to my small cassava garden.’
While Kisita and the other women in the village still spend a good part of the day collecting water, they now feel much more hopeful for the future, since they know the water is safe for their use. The Salvation Army also continues to work with the communities to increase their knowledge on good hygiene.
Kisita is very proud of her village and grateful for the support which has enabled them to protect their water source and ensure that they have safe water for their families.
A clean and safe water source is vital in ensuring that families are protected from illness and fatal diseases. Help other communities safeguard their water source and stay healthy by taking the Live Below the Line challenge with The Salvation Army.