Today is world water day and the United Nations is focussing on the importance of freshwater during the Covid-19 pandemic.

On this day 4myschools reflect on whether education is more important than water?

Education or water is not really a choice for many people in Ethiopia. For people unable to access water within a reasonable distance there is no education.

For many girls, in particular, living in remote villages in Ethiopia this is often the case. Collecting water traditionally falls on them, they are proud to do it and can be a four-hour round trip to ensure the village has water. Often the water is collected from shared water holes used by wildlife and often contaminated leading to many health problems and diseases, school understandably is the last thing on their minds.

We have questioned whether we should shift our focus during the Covid-19 pandemic, and after much reflection, we stand firm with providing water in places of extreme poverty should continue to be part of our core values. The gift of water is a gift of life, nothing can be more important.

4myschools teachers, support staff and schools are making a difference through continuing to use 4myschools who still even today make donations to build wells enabling girls to attend school. We remain resolute and content that we are on our way to building our second well like the one built in 2014.

4myschools proudly built our first well in 2014

Ross Allan of Wellwishers Australia wrote the following: “It never ceases to amaze when visiting a village well site. Be it a well that is hoped for, planned, under construction, just completed or built a year or more ago, the welcome received from the village members is always overwhelming.”

Sometimes it is just a few members of the WASHCO (Water, Sanitation and Health Committee), other times it’s a few women and a couple of elders, or it could be everyone in the village with the whole school in attendance. People are just so grateful for clean water. It is a celebration of life for them – a new life; life without water-borne diseases and life that goes past the age of five for their youngsters.

In November 2014, three members of Wellwishers Australia were at a village that had had a well completed less than 2 months earlier care of 4myschools Teacher Recruitment in Chelmsford Essex. The villagers were totally subsistence farmers in an area that was more than 20 minutes’ drive from the main road – the only vehicles to enter this area are the hydrologist, technicians, and REST supervisors (REST is our Ethiopian Implementation Partner). It was a dry, rocky, elevated, and very remote area. The villagers met us with cheers, ululating, and waving Ethiopian flags.

The smiles on the faces of the women, men and children were wide and prevalent. We were taken to the well site which is now a 15-minute walk maximum for many of the villagers.

The protective wall surrounding the well was well-built, accessed by a lockable gate. A couple of men played local musical instruments and with lots of hand-clapping and further ululating, we all danced together. They asked us to cut a ribbon to “officially open” the well as a symbol of help to the village. There was speech making by priests [all family men], a couple of the women and a particularly heartfelt thank you from one of the elders.

The most important things to them are the survival of their youngsters; less cost spent on healthcare and the ability for their children to get to school on time (and to actually now go to school). Time and time again they spoke of the fact that people across the seas care about them – they know they are part of a bigger world.

The changes coming to Ethiopia in new road works and other infrastructure are very noticeable. Bringing clean water to rural villages isolated by lack of roads and electricity, located in deep valleys, far from small towns and markets is a high priority. Great progress has been made, but the need will go on for quite some years. Once villagers have water, it then becomes more and more obvious that water is needed at schools, health clinics and other community facilities. Wellwishers have much work yet to be done. Thank you for helping make clean water a priority.”

Register with 4myschools today be part of our movement to make a difference to children in the UK and around the world.