Abomvomba is a small village of about 650 residents about 22 miles from the much larger city of Ebolowa in Cameroon, places it’s likely very few Americans have ever heard of.
Recently at Bread and Water for Africa® we first heard of Abomvomba from our partner in the country, Hope Services, about the great need for water for the people there.
To say the village is remote would be an understatement as it’s located on an undeveloped road linking Ebolowa with the town of Kribi where its inhabitants have no safe drinking water source, no electricity, no schools, no health care facilities and an extremely limited telecommunications network.
“So, it is essentially a poor population,” says Esther Ndichafah, CEO of Hope Services. “That is why Hope Services has been involved with this community through medical missions, community education and development programs since 2017.”
During the course of her outreach to residents, “the community expressed the need for a good portable water supply for their household use.”
Upon examining the problem further, Esther confirmed there indeed was a great need for water in the community as the nearest source of safe drinking water was in a neighboring village about two miles away – meaning people, mostly young girls, spent their days walking that distance one way to fill empty containers, and then carrying full, heavy ones back with the full weight on their heads.
To address this problem, Esther turned to Bread and Water for Africa® to request the $9,400 necessary to construct a borehole about 200 feet deep, thereby ensuring there will be no risk of the well becoming contaminated and/or polluted.
As expected, the community is very excited and supportive of the prospect of having water in the village more so than electricity, and residents are willing to help expend out of their own meager funds the cost of maintaining and protecting the well upon completion.
Residents have already formed a committee charged with locating the ideal site for the borehole, with the top priority that it be located far from any outhouses and latrines where waste could leach into the groundwater contaminating the water source.
Before any commitment could be made, Esther and her team met with members of the community to stipulate that in order for a borehole to be drilled, they must agree to create a committee to manage and oversee the security and preventative maintenance of the water supply facility, collect contributions from all families to be served by the well to have funds available for maintenance needs as they arise.
The bottom line is that the residents of Abomvomba “are in desperate need of water,” says Esther and at Bread and Water for Africa® we are working to see that that desperate need is met this year.
Local Partner: Haramaya Health Center/Hiwot Fana Specialized University Hospital
Program Director: Professor Augustin Sesay
Area Served: Eastern Ethiopia
Program Goal: To provide health care services to the people living in and near the village of Baite where there is high unemployment – 75 percent to 80 percent – and many of the poor work as peasant farmers to sustain themselves. Haramaya Health Center serves a community of 200,000 individuals. In the hospital, the greatest morbidity problems relate to upper respiratory, urinary tract, or pneumonia. Most mortality is related to pneumonia, intestinal problems, and septicemia which the hospital is striving to address.
Program Service provided: Haramaya Health Center provides primary medical treatment both inpatient care and outpatient care, and has obstetrics services.
Number of program Beneficiaries:
Current Need: While the clinic is small, it is organized to handle a large number of patients and emphasis is placed on prevention. However, there is a constant shortage of supplies and equipment and serious cases must be referred to other facilities. Needed items include ultrasound equipment, surgical operating room lights and a surgical table. At the hospital, the needs are described as enormous and urgent. The need at the hospital is primarily a lack of supplies and modern equipment, combined with a shortage of doctors.
Program Summary: The focus of the hospital is general medicine. The hospital’s strength is that it is a regional hospital for the eastern part of the country which became a teaching hospital in 2011. It also offers specialties that small clinics cannot offer.
Local Partner: Yeteem Children & Destitute Mothers Fund
Local Partner Director: Yimer Mohammed, Founder/Executive Director
Area Served: Afar Region of Northeastern Ethiopia and the capital – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Program Goal: To provide nomadic peoples in the Afar Region with the training, supplies and support necessary to achieve food security and food self-sufficiency. To provide vocational training to empower women in the Afar Region to earn an income, empower mothers to have control over their own livelihood, bring up poor children to be self-sufficient citizens, and provide integrated community -based health services to children, mothers, and adolescents.
Program Services Provided: Food security and food self-sufficiency, water collection and management, healthcare, computer, sewing and embroidery skills training.
Number of Program Beneficiaries: Over 5,000 individuals
Current Needs: Addressing HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and other diseases plaguing the area; enhancing and strengthening their existing child sponsorship program, women empowerment program, and the alternative basic education (ABE) program; and strengthening and expanding its small scale irrigation scheme; construction of a building for the implementation of a new income generation project.
The Afar Region program works with families whose ancestors have lived as pastoral nomads for thousands of years. These families raise and herd cattle and live almost exclusively off of the milk of their cows. Due to cyclical drought in the region, a lack of food and water for the cattle means less milk for these families. Yeteem recognized that the families needed to acquire agricultural skills if they were to have a continual food source that would ensure their ongoing habitation of the region that their ancestors first called home so long ago.
Change is difficult and takes time; patience and determination are required to introduce new ways of thinking and living to people. It has similarly been a challenge to create a strategy to help the Afar people to live in the 21st-century while respecting and preserving their local traditions. However, it has been a challenge that Yeteem readily accepted and that they have been working to overcome ever since!
The first agricultural program began in 1999 and consisted of 68 acres of land. The program introduced 120 semi-nomadic families to the concept of traditional plough culture and the use of draught and pack animals for improved crop production. In the true spirit of sustainable development, Yeteem handed over the development farm cooperative to the community in June of 2004. A community council of clan and religious leaders continues to oversee the program, while Yeteem continues to lend support when necessary.
Yeteem now works with four Afar communities on similar agricultural programs reaching out to more than 800 families. In each of these communities, Yeteem works to improve education, healthcare and the overall standard of living.
In the capital city of Addis Ababa Yeteem provides vocational program activities including skills training in computer, sewing and embroidery, and tree plantation.