Frontline Stories

Water Project Enhances Resilience as El Niño Hits Hard

Susan, 19, grew up in a small village in Zambia where access to water was a nightmare because the area had been experiencing drought for many years now.

“We had been fetching water from the streams, but in recent years, the streams dried up one by one, making it difficult to find water for drinking and other purposes,” Susan explains.

“When the streams dried up, especially in times of drought like now, we walked long distances following the dried stream channels to try to find some water somewhere. But that’s very tiring, so we used to dig deeper into the ground to scoop water; in most cases, we could not find water because the base of the dried stream was rocky or was simply dried,” Susan says.

Susan says elderly people in her community like her mother Mera and her mother’s friend Monita told her that they never experienced such problems in the past when they were young. “They said the streams never got dried, and the reason of this happening now is that there are a lot of things that have changed the world and stopped the rain,” Susan says.

“But according to what I learned at school, this could be a result of climate change, caused by people cutting down trees and doing other things that stop the rain. The situation has worsen; the streams are still dry despite the rainy season, and each day gets very hot,” explains Susan, who just completed her secondary school education.

Today Susan, like other people of the community, worries no more about the water woes, thanks to the borehole that World Vision drilled in 2014. “We had a lot of people suffering from diarrhoea because we shared the same water with animals. After World Vision drilled the borehole, our lives have changed. We still have access to water even though we have not been having regular rains for almost two years now,” Susan says.

“If World Vision had not drill this borehole, we would have died because all streams dried completely, and even if one tried to search for a water source, there were hardly any traces of water. World Vision has saved our lives. It is better not to have food than not to have water,” Susan says.

Susan says when people lack water, a lot of things get disturbed – children miss classes and the school would closed down eventually, because the children spend a lot of time fetching water.

Monita, 53, says training by World Vision in farming have helped them survive hard times of the recent years. “In the past few years, rainfall pattern has been changing with rain starting late and only raining for a few days, but because World Vision encouraged us to use a cultivator in our farms, we have been able to produce crops for sale and consumption despite the changing climate,” Monita continues, “We are blessed to have World Vision here who has been helping us to survive the drought we are experiencing. They have also brought us water.”

“With a stable supply of water from the borehole, families can produce vegetables in their gardens for sale and generate income to buy food even though El Niño is affecting food security in the country,” World Vision’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Coordinator Kotutu points out.

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