(ERGO) – Mohamed Jama lives just 50 paces from the new borehole in Wanaagsan village, in central Somalia’s Galmudug state, making it easy for his family of 10 and his herd of 100 goats and five camels to get the water they need.
The borehole recently opened after a seven-year fundraising effort by the local community. They raised half the total cost of $60,000 and the rest was donated by the area’s diaspora.
Life has changed for the better for Mohamed and the 350 other families served by the borehole. He used to buy water from one of 15 privately owned ponds in Abudwak town, 20 kms away, sharing the $40-50 cost of a 40-barrel tanker with other relatives every two weeks.
When he had no money, he had to walk eight hours to Abudwak to bring back 200 litres using donkeys.
Mohamed, who migrated to Wanaagsan four years ago from the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia, contributed nine goats in two installments to the borehole construction project.
“There is no life without water!” Mohamed told Radio Ergo.
“As long as the well’s engine is roaring, unless I’m thinking about the rest of my needs like healthcare and food bills, water at least is no longer a worry.”
The villagers contribute what they can to the running and maintenance of the borehole.
Mohamed, who sells two goats a month to pay for his family’s food and healthcare, is pleased to be able to save the two more goats he used to sell to buy water.
The chairman of the borehole fundraising committee, Abdul Samatar Mahamud, said they used a vehicle mounted with a loudspeaker to rally the community, and held meetings with the Abduwak businessmen and had regular phone calls with the diaspora.
“The funds were collected from urban areas, rural settings, and from the diaspora. It was a community initiative and people gave some cash, but mostly livestock,” he said.
Khalif Abdi Duale, with a family of 11, has lived in the area for two years and owns 40 goats. Water has been the biggest challenge in his nomadic life. The borehole means he no longer has to ask his relatives in town for money to buy water for his family and livestock.
“Water was a big challenge in the village,” he said. “Now we don’t need to order water from a tanker – we drink right from here. The main challenge I have now is where to store water.”
Khalif pays $3 each time he draws water from the borehole. The management committee levies small fees according to what families can afford.
Spurred by the success of the borehole, the fundraising committee is now planning to invest in other much needed services Wanaagsan such as schools, health centres, and security.