More reliable water for less

Somalia, February 17, 2011

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Roble Muse/Mercy Corps  </span>
    One of the new classrooms at Kalabeid Primary School, with a water tap in the foreground. Photo: Roble Muse/Mercy Corps

I recently joined the Mercy Corps Somalia team as Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for the School Environment and Educational Development for Somalia (SEEDS) program. On my first trip to the field, I went to Kalabeid in Gebiley Region to monitor activities at Kalabeid Primary School, where Mercy Corps has connected the school to the town water system and built two classrooms.

Kalabeid Primary School is a school consisting of nine classrooms, an office, store, kitchen and three latrines with 459 students, nine teachers and seven other staff. Mohamed Ahmed Dhimbiil, the head of the school, mentioned that, after the completion of the two classrooms, they made a request for the school to be connected to the town water system and Mercy Corps instantly responded their need.

“The water system installation is now completed and connected from the former town water point to school latrines and handwashing stations,” Dhimbiil said.

Dhimbiil reported that the school previously used three barrels of water per day, costing 7,000 to 5,000 Somaliland Shillings (US$1.30 to US$0.90) each. The availability of these barrels was also unreliable. "Now that water is piped to the school, we will avoid a cost of 21,000 Somaliland Shillings a day and improve the hygiene and sanitation of the school and the students,” Dhimbiil remarked. In total, the savings for the school will be more than $100 a month.

Dhimbiil also stated that not only the school, but the whole community, has benefited from the water system, since Mercy Crops has also built new three new water points stations for the community, improving the accessibility of the water and reducing crowds from the previous water point. In addition, community members are contributing to connect the water system to their houses.

Abdilahi Osman Diriye, head of one of the households, reported that it cost him $700 to connect 180 metres from the new Mercy Corps pipe running to the school to his house. He hopes that other households will connect to his piping and share the cost of the initial investment.

On the basis of this first monitoring visit, I find that Mercy Corps’ work is dedicated to serving communities and reflects our mission. The activities we are doing truly respond to the existing challenges including health, education, water and the environment.