Since 2012, Northern Mali has been in a civil war. Over that time, uprisings by rebel groups have left 3.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. In recent years, many communities have been the site of gun battles and suicide bombing’s.
Amid these difficult circumstance, Chata takes care of her family. The mother of four runs a small business selling goods in the market. Insecurity has also made it more difficult to access basic needs, like clean water as boreholes were not being repaired.
Water in an arid region
Mali, a landlocked country in West Africa, contains vast deserts and a long dry-season. In 2019, an estimated 1.3 million people did not have access to clean water across Mali.1 In this context, women spend a substantial amount of their time walking long distances to boreholes and then hand-pumping water to the surface.
Last year, Chata heard about a water project being implemented in her area by World Vision. A new borehole was being built, and an existing one at a school, repaired. Chata and the other women in the community were thrilled with the news, as children and mothers alike would benefit.
Chata along with other community members volunteered to become members of the Water Management Committee. They learned how the borehole’s pump system operated and how to repair it. They also learned how to negotiate disputes that might occasionally emerge around the boreholes use; a fitting skill in a community that has suffered with conflict.
“We put a rotation system in place, so different committee members take responsibility for inspecting and cleaning up the boreholes,” Chata says.
Chata inspects one of the pumps the Water Management Committee
There are 844 million people in the world who lack access to safe water. But thanks, in part, to Canadian donors, World Vision is reaching a new person with clean water every 10 seconds. This includes across 5,133 people in Mali who now have access to clean water through the repair and installation of boreholes over the last year. Alongside our hygiene and sanitation work, we’re able to reduce deadly waterborne diseases and build more healthy communities.
While many challenges remain in Chata’s life and her community, she believes the improved water supply can act as a motivator for the development of the entire community.