icon icon icon icon icon icon icon

Water brings education, health, and hope

A small girl fetching water in Jerrycans using a pipe

Nada filling jerry cans easily with a water pipe next to her house

Nada filling jerry cans easily with a water pipe next to her house

Nearly two-thirds of Yemeni people lack access to clean water and sanitation services. 20.5 million Yemenis require support to meet their basic water, hygiene and sanitation needs, 11.2 million of whom are in acute need. The burden of fetching water often falls on women and girls who must walk long distances every day to reach water sources, leaving them vulnerable to many risks along the way.

Since the escalation of war in 2015, public services in the country have significantly deteriorated, and most water systems in Yemen’s famine-risk districts became heavily reliant on humanitarian assistance for fuel and maintenance. People are increasingly resorting to unimproved water sources and sometimes even fight over available water.

In the west of Yemen, Nada, a bright 10-year-old girl, lives in Al Meghlaf district of Hodeidah governorate. Nada is the eldest child in her family, which makes her responsible for providing water for the whole family. The village’s water system stopped working a long time ago, and so the majority of the villages have to endure daily journeys to fetch water. This can be physically and emotionally painful as well as time-consuming and risky, especially for women and girls.

Nada’s father says: “I used to feel so sad while waking up my little girl early in the morning to go to fetch water instead of going to school. Nada used to walk for two kilometres across the valley to reach the nearest water well. After collecting the water, she had to load the donkey with four jerry cans to bring them home by noon. Nada had no time left for learning, playing, or being a child. The entire family relied on the water she brought.”

Like Nada, Nawar, a kind 13-year-old boy, missed classes when he became responsible for finding water for his family. Nawar lives in one of the poorest villages in Al Meghlaf district.

“I can’t believe how Nawar’s childhood has slipped away,” says Nawar’s father. “As his days revolved around fetching water, his performance in school was negatively affected by his frequent absence. He used to come home by noon, struggling with the weight of the jerry cans and the heat of the sun. His tiny body got tired of this hard work, and our health worsened because the collected water was often contaminated.”

A small boy standing with a lot of Jerrycans behind him
Nawar in front of his house filling the jerry cans using a water pipe

“The way home after collecting the water was even harder than finding the water,” says 60-year-old Na’amah Hassan. Na’amah lives in a very small tent with her young orphan grandson Taher in Bajel district of Hodeidah. “Carrying at least two jerry cans full of water was very exhausting for a woman of my age. It caused me a lifelong pain in my neck and back.”

“Fetching water takes great time and effort,” agrees 60-year-old Mariam from Mahwit governorate. “I used to spend the whole day with my grandson Mohammed searching for water, which can be dangerous sometimes. Conflicts at water points, as well as risky roads, dogs and snakes and harsh weather conditions, are some of the challenges we used to face.” Mariam’s village has suffered water scarcity for almost twenty years because of an internal conflict between two different sub-districts which meant that the only well stoped working and families were deprived of water.

Nada, Nawar, Na’amah and Mariam’s lives dramatically changed when CARE, with funding from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), intervened with its Multisector Humanitarian Response Program (MHRP). Luckily for residents of the targeted villages in Hodeidah and Mahwit governorates, the dream of having clean water at home came true. Through the project, water networks were rehabilitated, and water tanks were constructed with solar pump systems to ensure water reach.

A woman standing in front of a hut hlding a water pipe with a small boy standing on the door way
Na’amah and her grandson watering the plants in front of their house

Jailan Jaber, a community committee member from Hodeidah, says: “This first-of-its-kind project solved our water dilemma. People have access to clean water and water-related diseases have decreased. Now, women have the time to take care of their families and farms without worrying about water, and children are free to play and go to school. It’s a great assistance for us.”

With a sincere smile on her wise face, Mariam adds: “After almost twenty years of suffering, we finally have clean water in our home. Now we can drink, cook, wash, and bathe with no worries.” Both Mariam and Na’amah believe their grandchildren will have better lives without having to search for water every day.

“Now that we have water at home, there is no need for risky journeys,” says Nada’s father happily. “Nada is joyfully back to school and I trust she will have a better future with an education.”

With shining eyes and a smiling face, Nawar says: “Studying and playing is much better than fetching water. Thanks to the new system that provides water to my house, I never miss any classes now. I used to hate water, but now I love it. Water brings us education, health, and hope.”

A man and two children standing
Mariam and her grandchildren in front of their house
Back to Top