The rural water access crisis impacting woman

29 June, 2022 | Amie Nevin
Categories: Safe Water, Sustainable Development Goals, Togo, West Africa

On our recent fieldtrip to Togo to hold to LSC, we visited with a number of communities in the district of Keve to learn about their water access.

We visited on village in particular, which took around 30 minutes to travel to from any significant settlement. Their handpump, located right in the centre of the village, has been broken for over 5 years. Occasionally over this perio, they have managed to pump a jerry can or two from it, but otherwise it was non-functioning. This isn’t due to the lack of water within the acquifer, just that the handpump unit has a problem and is unable to pump water up to the surface. The community lack of organisational structures or money to pay for a technician to fix it.

We began our introductions in the village with an informal meeting and quickly delved into asking questions about their water problems. As is typical within rural African norms, the woman shared how they were responsible for collecting water, having to do collect fresh water at least every other day, most of them every day. They explained how the water sources that were closest were not clean, not easy to access and took much of their time to do such a simple task.

We requested if they could take us to the water source they use most often. Two women went to collect their buckets and off we went, walking through the community, walking down the edge of a field on a path very well used. We walked for 10 minutes or so, and took a right-hand turn, into what was an overgrown, swampy area – they said it had water in at the time, but it often dries up as the weather grows warmer. The water source they used when this one dried up was at least another 30 minutes away.

The women immediately went to work using their smaller bucket to scoop up water to fill the estimated 10-15L bucket. One of the woman was heavily pregnant, seeing her crouch, bend and heave heavy buckets of water was a stark reality the lack of safe water presents for women.

The positive contributions on SDG 5 – Gender Quality are monumental, reducing the number of unpaid working hours for women.

To date we currently have 17 boreholes active within the project. This communities handpump has now been fixed and water quality tested to provide safe water once again. Implementation is ramping up so we can make a difference within rural communities just like this one.