The city of Harbu in rural Ethiopia is home to nearly 190,000 residents who survive by growing what they can — such as rice beans, peas and lentils — on their half hectare (about 1.2 acres) tract of land. Many also raise livestock including cattle, sheep, goats, camels, donkeys, horses and mules.

Some 100,000 of these residents in the area rely on the Harbu Clinic, established by the Ethiopian government in 2001, each year for all their healthcare needs, which includes treatment for many easily preventable waterborne diseases.

The clinic itself lacks the basic and essential infrastructure to treat its patients — and that includes access to safe, clean water in the arid and drought-prone region of the country.

“The limited availability of a clean water supply is a major problem facing the clinic,” we were informed by the clinic administrator.

“Currently, the clinic is supplied water from the municipal water supply system. This water source does not provide reliable water to the clinic staff and patients.”

The quality of the water is also a major concern with most samples tested showed contamination due to intermittent operation and inadequate protection of the source of the water.

“Given the present COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of access to water and hygiene puts the clinic and the larger community at risk if the deadly coronavirus reaches the community,” he said.

This month, Bread and Water for Africa® is undertaking a campaign to raise the $11,000 necessary to construct a well to serve the clinic and members of the community in its immediate vicinity. Our goal is to improve the severe shortage of clean water while also minimizing the risk of the spreading of the deadly virus.

Already, we have been working with the clinic administrator and a contractor who is able to drill a 114-foot-deep well on the clinic grounds. It is estimated to produce nearly a gallon per second, which would be more than sufficient to meet the clinic’s and the community’s needs.

Once the well is completed it will be transferred to the clinic administration to ensure its safety, sustainability and maintenance including periodic servicing of the pumping system and the undertaking of any repairs that may be necessary.

At Bread and Water for Africa® we have seen firsthand many times how much a well for a community improves not just the quality of the water for residents, but their overall quality of life, and we are counting on our supporters to enable us to achieve our goal of a well for Harbu this summer.