Imagine not having running water in your house. Now imagine living in an extremely remote place – you have few neighbors, a large family, and a lot of livestock – in an area prone to drought. Your husband and older sons are herding the livestock. Your younger children are in school. You and your older daughters who are not yet married have to build and repair the houses in the family compound, tend small crops, cook for the family, fetch firewood, and fetch water for cooking, drinking, and bathing. During times of drought, the nearest water source can take hours to get to on foot. If you’re lucky, you have a donkey to carry the water home for you. Now imagine some of the things that can happen to a woman walking for many hours in a remote area.
During these long treks for water, women are not simply losing time that they could use for other economic activities, they risk sexual assault along the way. During a long drought, families even take younger girls out of school to help fetch water. As FoTZC celebrates its 20th anniversary, we are focusing on providing clean water to communities like the one we describe here. We have drilled three boreholes and are putting in solar pumps, allowing women access to clean water right in their communities, thus eliminating this dangerous, sometimes daily trek to fetch water. We plan to continue to drill boreholes in order to make clean water accessible for more and more women, enabling them to keep their daughters in school, to spend more time on starting small businesses through our COCOBA program, but most importantly, keeping them safe.