Asha is a 35 years old mother of five (3 girls and 2 boys). She fled the conflict in her home town of Jowhar in Lower Shabelle region of Somalia. When she fled the conflict Asha lost everything her extended families support and all her belongings. She found refuge in the New Doonyale IDP camp in North Galkayo were she has lived ever since.
Asha and her children share a small one-room makeshift home made out of corrugated iron sheets. Asha is a single parent her ex-husband does not provide any financial support to her or the children and, she is forced to provide for their needs all alone.
In Somalia, the primary responsibility for water collection falls on women and girls. Often these water sources are located in isolated areas. Asha's nearest water source was located 3 kilometres away from the camp. Each day she was forced to make multiple journeys back and forth to provide for her family’s water needs. Each trip is marred with danger as the water source is located in an isolated area. She would make the trip early in the morning and sometimes late at night as dusk fell. She and others like her risk their personal safety.
Attacks and rape of women and girls are sadly common in her community as they travel alone to collect water. What’s more, Asha was forced to carry heavy jerry cans filled with water over 3 kilometres each time. On most occasions, she would carry 20 litter of water back to the camp with no assistance.
CARES’s EU funded Durable Solution for IDPs and returnees in Somalia Program provides communities such as the Doonyale IDP camp with access to clean safe water. Before embarking on this intervention the program team met with the community and conducted a needs assessment to identify their specific water needs. Once the team completed the assessment they began work on constructing water piping (approximately 1000 meter) and a water kiosk. The team and the com- munity collectively decided to build in a centrally located area within the camp for easy safe access.
This has resulted in women like Asha being able to collect water in close proximity to their homes and the long arduous journeys are no more. Asha stated she is overjoyed with the new kiosk and no longer has to worry about her personal safety. Nor is she forced to leave her children alone for long periods.
Not only has the access issue of water been resolved but the safety and confidence issues of women and girls in the community have been addressed. The camp community leaders expressed their gratitude to the Durable Solutions program and stated: “it has really changed the lives of women and girls living in the camp”.