Delivering clean water to rural Ethiopians

Construction beginning on the new reservoir

Construction beginning on the new reservoir

Big Step for Delivering Clean Water to 19,000 Ethiopians

WEEMA’s largest clean water project ever has taken a big step forward, which is good news for thousands of families living in the Tembaro district.

Last month we finalized an agreement with Water Action to take over and finish the construction project that will provide drinking water and healthy sanitation services to just under 19,000 people living in four neighborhoods – Bachira, Bada, Bohe, and Waro. Construction is already well underway and is expected to be completed in nine months.

Once the project is finished, community members will no longer have to walk for hours every day to fetch water from streams and ponds, which are often contaminated. Water collection is usually the job of mothers, girls, and other children – a time-consuming task that often prevents them from going to school and learning other skills. 

New distribution pipelines running from a reservoir and 21 water access points in the four neighborhoods will make it far easier for community members to collect clean water each day.  

The project will also improve water sanitation services and practices. Four public latrines will be installed in key public locations along with 50 new household latrines and 150 more that will be upgraded. Community members and local health extension workers will also be trained to operate the facilities and raise community awareness about clean sanitation practices. Reflecting its support and commitment to project cost-sharing, the community is providing free labor for the effort.

Added together, it’s easy to understand our excitement about this endeavor, which is critical for improving health and living conditions, as well as broader economic development.

Pipes that will bring water from the spring to water points

Pipes that will bring water from the spring to water points

WEEMA Expands Public Restroom Access

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Over 2 billion people throughout the world live without access to sanitation infrastructure and services, causing environmental pollution and creating a public health issue. While numerous efforts have been centered around building bathrooms in homes, many public spaces are still without latrines.

WEEMA's Latrine Project aims to increase health and safety by installing restrooms in public spaces around Ethiopia.

In Tembaro, thousands of women walk many miles each week to the central market. During their day spent in the market, they do not have access to safe and sanitary bathrooms. Acting on this need, WEEMA collaborated with the local urban development department to construct three public latrines in this market space.  

WEEMA is committed to pursuing community-centered projects that promote the health, wellbeing and dignity of the residents with whom we work. With the completion of this project, we celebrate the opportunity to expand the sanitation infrastructure of the area.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@weemintl) to hear more about this project and its impact.

Congratulations to Team Warbotics for competing in the World Championships!

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Eighth grade students from Warroad, MN learned that women in many parts of the world spend hours each day collecting water.  When they realized how hard, dangerous and painful it can be to carry a 40lb jerry can full of water, they and set out to change that! These ambitious students creatively designed a water backpack/harness to make it much easier to carry these water cans.  

Their design was so impressive that they were encouraged to enter a science competition sponsored by LEGO, which they won. The Warbotics team continued to win at the district and state level and were invited to the World Championships in Detroit, Michigan where they were able to demonstrate their innovative harness to thousands of people.

While the Warbotics team was at Worlds, the WEEMA team was distributing the harness prototype to women in Ethiopia. The feedback from the community was incredibly positive. The community said that these harnesses will make a big impact on women and girls who struggle to carry the heavy load.  They asked for more harnesses to be produced and distributed as soon as possible.

The WEEMA team is currently searching for partners to mass produced these backpacks and meet the expressed need from our Ethiopian team.  If anyone has connections that may help make this a reality please send to WEEMA (liz@weema.org)!

Watch the video below to see these harnesses in action!


International Day for Maternal Health and Rights

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Maternal health is one of the main focuses of WEEMA's medical work and no one knows its importance better than the WEEMA's midwives! 

Our five midwives have now graduated from Hamlin College of Midwifery and are currently working at rural health centers in the Kembata-Tembaro Zone. This midwives are providing highly skilled maternity services as well as mentoring to their health center colleagues in Hodo, Ambikuna, Gaecha, and Hadero Health Centers.

Thank you to our midwives for their tireless work keeping moms and babies safe!

Tomorrow is World Water Day!

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Happy World Water Day!

We often take our clean water for granted.  Can you imagine having to walk for hours each day to collect dirty drinking water?  We can't.  Unfortunately, 750 million people in the world do just that.

But together we can change that- and, in fact, with your help we already have.

Since 2012, we have invested in constructing and repairing water systems throughout the Tembaro district in Southern Ethiopia.  We believe that by the end of 2019- in parternship with the local water department- the percent of access to water coverage of the area will have increased from 40% to over 80-85% (follow-up survey to be conducted).  What an amazing accomplishment!  Think of all of the girls and women in Tembaro who no longer have the burden of water collection and can go to school, start small business and pursue their dreams. Thank you! You made that happen.

But our work is not done.  In addition to new water projects in Tembaro, over the next several years we will expand to other areas of Kembata-Tembaro Zone as well as in the Hadiya Zone.  And we cannot do this without you. In honor of World Water Day, please consider making a generous donation in support of our water programs.

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