Tiblet is a government Health Extension Worker covering the village of Meguako. Children in Crossfire have provided access to safe water to the community though provision of a shallow well. We also work with our local partner St Luke’s Hospital to train and support 180 Health Extension Worker’s to improve practice around health and nutrition for vulnerable communities like this in the West Shewa zone of Ethiopia.
Tiblet is supported to hold nutrition clinics for young mothers to demonstrate good health and nutrition practice, provide advice and assess children that might be malnourished
She has worked as a Health Extension Worker in the village of Meguako for 5 years and has seen significant change for everyone. “There used to be so much malnutrition here, especially with the very young children. The mothers would get ill and the babies would be sick and they had very little nutrition going into their bodies.”
“Many of these problems have now reduced, just because of access to the safe water and better knowledge of nutrition.” “I have also noticed that people are happier, they are more together as a community than before.”
Case Study: Access to Safe Water
Gelatu Guta aged 16.
Working with the public health outreach programme of our partner St Luke’s Hospital, Children in Crossfire have provided access to safe water for thousands of families. Gelatu lives in a small village called Meguako, in Wolisso Rural district. The journey to the village takes you 10km out of Wolisso town, on a dusty dirt track. After about another 15km, the dirt track turns into fields. The only way to find the village is following a GPS reference and driving across barren land and animal tracks to find it.
The village was identified as vulnerable based on its isolation and the high frequency of malnourished children coming to St Luke’s hospital. The nearest water was 7km away in a stream (the Era River) shared with cows and monkeys. Not only was the water dangerous to drink, but the journey to fetch water made children stay away from school and young women vulnerable to sexual violence.
Gelatu is 16 years old and in grade 8 at the school (4km away which he walks every day). When we met Gelatu, he told us about his life before and after the well was constructed in their village. “I was often sick from drinking the water, and so were many people in the village. This stopped me going to school and makes me not eat so I get weak. I had to go to the hospital twice last year and was often away from school.” “Also, fetching the water made me very late for school and often I did not go because I was embarrassed to be so late.”
The addition of the well changed the lives of Gelatu and his entire community.
“it is amazing to get water in the village. Everyone is happy now. It is safe to drink and safe to fetch. We are close as a community now and we often play near the well and talk to each other when we are fetching water.”
“I do not miss school anymore and I hope to be a doctor when I am grown up.”
“People in the village are stronger and not getting sick anymore. This means we can harvest food and graze cattle better. It has improved our lives in many ways.”