On TV, in Somalia

Somalia, January 25, 2011

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    Schoolchildren enjoy water gushing from the new borehole at 56 cubic meters per hour. Photo: Kunow Sheikh Abdi/Mercy Corps Photo: water_hargeisa_ksheikhabdi_121510.jpg

One night in mid-December, a colleague called me giggling hysterically: “I saw you on TV … next to the Vice President!” When I put the phone down, it started vibrating with text messages. In the morning, the office was buzzing with excitement – everyone with stories of watching Mercy Corps colleagues with the VIPs of Hargeisa on TV.

Earlier that day, part of the Mercy Corps team, joined by the Vice President, Minister of Education, Minister of Water and District Commissioner, drove 25 kilometers out of Hargeisa for the Commissioning Ceremony for a new borehole that will provide water to Hargeisa town and schools.

The largest city in Somaliland, Hargeisa is home to an estimated 800,000 residents of which 20 percent are connected to piped water. The new borehole will increase water supply to the city, including five Mercy Corps supported schools.

Mercy Corps drilled the borehole in collaboration with the Hargeisa Water Agency and in partnership with the Ministry of Education as part of the School Environment and Education Development for Somalia (SEEDS) program funded by USAID. The program aims to improve access to water and sanitation for at least 50,000 people through constructing or rehabilitating 103 water points, 400 latrines and 200 water stations.

While reflecting on the news feature the day after the ceremony, one of my colleagues said, “These kinds of projects make me proud to work for Mercy Corps.”