icon icon icon icon icon icon icon

Bringing Safe and Clean Water Closer to Communities in Ibb

A smiling young girl in a headscarf poses for a photo.

Khadijah happily standing next to the installed solar power in her village. Photo: Sarah Rasheed/CARE

Khadijah happily standing next to the installed solar power in her village. Photo: Sarah Rasheed/CARE

After nearly seven years of conflict, according to the 2021 Yemen Humanitarian Needs Overview, a total of 20.7 million Yemeni people are in need of humanitarian assistance – two-thirds of the population – of whom 22 per cent are women and over half are children. Almost half of Yemenis have no access to safe water.

Aldhubab village of Hubaysh district is one of the poorest areas in Ibb governorate, south of the capital Sana’a. For years, residents in this area lacked access to safe and clean water. Women, who are responsible for water availability in most Yemeni countryside homes, used to go down into a deep hole, without any lighting, to fetch water, making them vulnerable to many risks. “My daughter fell when she was fetching water. The jerrycan fell on her chest, causing pressure on her lungs,” says Fatema, a 70-year-old resident of Aldhubab village. “Since I was a child, I have been suffering to fetch water for my family. Sometimes women fall into the well due to overcrowding and lack of light, but thank God they’ve been rescued on time,” Fatema adds.

A map
Ibb Governorate is located in southwestern Yemen with Ibb city, its center, one of the most important cities in the county

At the age of 13, Khadijah, a student in sixth grade, bore the daily burden of having to provide her family with the water they need. She used to go to the water well twice a day. She craves to be able to learn and dreams of being a teacher, but she was afraid of not being able to fulfill her dream because she had to miss classes and could not study as well as she needed to since she spent most of her time fetching water. “I used to feel upset every time my mother asked me to fetch water. I have experienced danger and injured myself many times,” says Khadijah sadly.

Two women carrying water down a rocky path
Women while going down the water well hole to fill their jerrycans with water in Aldhubab village. Photo: Sarah Rasheed/CARE

Open and unprotected wells are subject to contamination which can harbor bacteria, such as those responsible for diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, hepatitis A and polio. According to the UN, in Yemen, approximately 297,000 children under five die from diseases linked to poor sanitation, poor hygiene, or unsafe drinking water every year. “I and my brothers used to be sick due to drinking dirty water and it was difficult for my father to send us to the clinic so we used to be treated with herbs,” says Khadijah as she describes the hardship of fetching water journey in her village.

A girl in a black hoodie kneels down by a stream, collecting water in a container.
Aisha, a young girl, while filling her jerrycan with unclean water in Al Udayn village. Photo: Sarah Rasheed/CARE

Access to safe water was identified as one of the biggest challenges for both men and women. Families had to collect water from alternative sources, often far from their homes. This increased the burden of work, particularly for women and girls, as well as increasing protection risks associated with walking long distances to collect water.

“We were afraid that we or one of our family members would fall due to rough roads. Many donkeys fell and died due to narrow and rough conditions of the road too,” says Zainab, a 15-year-old girl who lives in Dhy-Alakam village of Hubaysh district in Ibb governorate. Travelling to collect water from potentially unknown areas, far away and considered unsafe, can increase women’s risk of harassment. “I had to go out early in the morning to fetch water and sometimes I would get harassed but this has been my only oprion to provide water for my family,” says Zainab.

Only 45% of Yemenis have access to soap, with less than 50% of populations in districts with a high incidence of WASH-related diseases like cholera. This is mainly because they do not wash their hands as needed. “With high prices, most families cannot buy soap, which causes the spread of diseases among these families.” Says Zainab.

Fortunately for residents in Hubaysh and Al Udayn districts of Ibb governorate, with funding from Global Affairs of Canada (GAC), CARE directly helped over 32,000 people to access safe water through rehabilitation of water system and installation of a solar energy system to alleviate the hardship the residents had been experiencing. CARE also distributed hygiene kits for 2,085 households. “Now, I don’t have to fetch water more than one time a day. Time is saved. The water distribution point is near to our home, so I have time to attend classes and I hope I can fulfill my dream and be a teacher in the future,” says Khadijah, clearly showing her satisfaction in being able to study more comfortably.

CARE also conducted a training on hygiene practices and promotion for community volunteers. The community volunteers share their knowledge about hygiene and help to improve their communities’ practices. “Every day, we pray for those who helped us to have safe and clean water. Thanks CARE for saving our lives, time and dignity,” Zainab concludes.

Back to Top