Mali: Potable water improves our health
By Sidy Lamine Bagayoko, World Vision Mali
Word Vision Mali staff field visitors are welcomed in Neguèla as heroes, a way for inhabitants to show their gratefulness. Before the intervention of World Vision in the town of Neguèla, villagers faced all kind of hardships just to get just water – even unclean that was not drinkable. It was hard for the population to find any water in the town. “As a child, I experienced water difficulties only for a few years. But all the women of my mother’s age have lived those nightmares their whole life,” said Aminata Sow, a 14‐year‐old girl sponsored by World Vision.
Each year during the dry season (November through June), Aminata’s mother would collect water from the same streams used by animals and where women would also wash clothes. That was the only place for Aminata’s mother to get water to cover the needs of her family. The few traditional wells used to draw water dried up immediately after the rainy season. Even when they still had some little water remaining, women would line up for one kilometer waiting for their turn to fetch the water, and that would take much time. Sometimes, Aminata’s mother would spend about 4 hours just to fill two barrels of 50 liters. In addition, the water collected was not treated for consumption and was therefore the cause of many diseases such as eye problems, stomach aches, and diarrhea.
“When I was younger, me and my friends, we were obliged to help our mothers fetching water. We started every day from 5:00 am and I could not finish domestic work before school time. I could not go to school regularly, so I was threatened by school dropout as my school teacher used to warn me and my parents,” said Aminata.
Today, with World Vision intervention, the town of Neguèla has 10 water posts and 3 borehole wells providing nearby potable water to the all community. In addition to having safe drinking water, children can take a shower, eat before they go to school every morning and apply hygiene best practices to wash their hands at critical times. Children are now healthy, clean, and wear clean clothes. Their gleaming bodies show happiness and their well‐being.
Between 2012 and 2014, water borne diseases in children, treated in the Neguèla health center, were reduced by 70%, thanks to access to clean water. “Now I feel healthy all the time. I have time to play with my friends and to help my mother cooking and do embroidery. I like the time I spend with my mum learning how to cook properly,” said Aminata.
This story originally appeared on Strong Women, Strong World.