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Providing clean water and improving hygiene

A stone building with a pipe water on the wall

The new water storage in Al-Methmar village

The new water storage in Al-Methmar village

Due to the ongoing conflict, more than 20 million people in Yemen are in need of water & sanitation services. In 2017 the country saw the world’s worst cholera outbreak in history, and vulnerable communities are still grappling with cholera as well as other disease outbreaks, food insecurity and an economic crisis.

Like many villages in the Yemeni countryside, Al-Methmar village of Swuyer district in Amran governorate lacked basic services – including access to clean drinking water. The population of Al-Methmar village have always struggled to secure sufficient water supplies. One elderly woman had to do that journey every day since she didn’t have any children to do it for her, and for children who have to do the journey it interfered with school attendance, meaning they missed out on classes.

“Girls and women are responsible for fetching water every day from the nearest source of water which is about 4km away from the village,” says Jamil Jomaan, a 25-year-old resident of Al-Methmar. “It takes them four hours to go and return and they have to do it two times a day, which means girls and women spend 8 hours every day to fetch enough water just for one day.” The trek to find water was not only long and exhausting, but women could also be subjected to harassment, abuse or other dangers.

People fetching water from pipes
People fill their jerry safely cans from the water distribution point

“Donkeys get tired from walking these distances every day and consume some of the water loaded on their backs,” he adds. “Also, since there is only one road for cars and donkeys, one day a car hit and killed a donkey, which meant that a family lost their only means of fetching water. The family is poor and couldn’t afford another donkey and they had to wait till their neighbours came back so they could borrow their donkey to fetch water.”

In 1990, the government dug a water well, but it remained out of service until 2013, when the villagers decided to share and buy a water pump, pipes and an open water tank. They managed to install the water pump and buy fuel but unfortunately a year later fuel shortages meant that locals were not able to buy fuel, and again had to resort to travelling long distances to the nearest water source.

It was clear that a more sustainable water source needed to be developed for the locals of Al-Methmar village. With funding from the Yemen Humanitarian Fund, CARE was able to build a 25mwater storage tank supported by a solar system – benefitting 275 families in the village as well as 200 people who come from nearby villages to fill their jerry cans every day.

A woman with a cap, looking at packed bags
A CARE staff member monitors hygiene kits prior to distribution

“Hearing the flow of water into the water storage tank nearby makes me happy,” says Jamil. “Children no longer have to face the risks of fetching water from faraway places and now have the chance to get a proper education.”

The water tank’s solar power system means that the tank should remain functional and sustainable in future for families in the area – despite fuel shortages. A training on how to use and maintain the solar power system was conducted.

In addition to the water tank, as part of the project new hygiene measures have been put in place for garbage disposal and locals have received basic hygiene kits containing soap, washing powder, jerry cans and other items. “Thanks to CARE, water is available, and people were trained on hygiene awareness to help keep us healthy,” says Jamil.


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