How a water well helps open the door to education

We know that access to clean water can help improve the overall health of an entire community.

But how does it help children -- particularly girls -- to stay in school and receive an education? Read what happened in the village of Ganjure Chicho, Ethiopia, to find out.

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If you're reading this post, chances are that you use water regularly for a variety of purposes -- like drinking, cooking, bathing, and cleaning.

But in the rural village of Ganjure Chicho, Ethiopia, obtaining it for any of those activities was once the hardest task of the day.

The cumbersome responsibility was usually shouldered by girls and women, who would travel as far as three miles every day, carrying heavy plastic or clay containers filled with water.

"I remember how a pregnant woman in our neighborhood once suffered from pregnancy-related health complications after carrying water from a spring in a faraway place. She might have died if she were not taken to hospital," says Arfene Kumo, a mother of eight.

"In fact, it was very tiresome for every one of us [women in the village] to bring water from those distant areas. Moreover, most of the day was wasted while fetching a single pot of water."

Arfene, 40, recalls how the lack of access to safe water negatively affected her three girls.

Arfene fills a container with water at the well installed by World Vision. Arfene fills a container with water at the well installed by World Vision. (Photo: Samuel Mochona/World Vision)

"Our daughters equally suffered," she says. "Every day after school, they went to bring water. They came back in the evening. There was no time for them to do their homework or read."

The most frightening part? "On top of that, many school-age girls were abducted when they were fetching water from distant springs."

But the situation for villagers in this Ethiopian community has improved. World Vision has drilled a shallow well in the area, and residents now have greater access to clean, safe water.

"We are no longer carrying those heavy pots. Praise be to God, now we are not walking day and night for hours in search of water. World Vision has brought clean drinking water to our village," Arfene says.

"The worry and the burden were all taken from our shoulders. The girls have enough time to go to school, do their homework, and study."

Meseret Simamo, a 25-year-old mother of two girls in the village, shares Arfene's gratitude. "In addition to easing the carrying burden," she says, "the well has saved our time. Now, I have time to care for my young children."


In recognition of the International Day of the Girl, which was observed on October 11, we're continuing to share stories of how investing in girls and women can help lift entire communities out of poverty -- and what World Vision is doing to achieve this goal.

Join us as we work to equip and empower girls and women worldwide:

  • Sponsor a girl in need. Sponsorship makes a long-term investment in the life of a girl, her family, and her community, providing greater access to life-giving basics like nutritious food, clean water, medical care, and education -- the foundation for a future of independence and hope.
  • Make a one-time donation to our Clean Water Fund. Girls living in communities that have access to clean, safe water have a better chance of being able to stay in school. Your gift will support our clean water and sanitation programs in areas where the need is great.

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