Life-saving clean water in Badghis, Afghanistan

Life-saving clean water in Badghis, Afghanistan
ALEX SNARY, GM OF INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIP, WORLD VISION NEW ZEALAND

More than 400,000 people of Badghis province struggle to find safe water.

Traveling up the Guklkhana Valley, Afghanistan, in the blazing sun over rock filled roads, the dust stings your eyes and fills your mouth. It's not hard to see why water is the main concern for everyone here. For the six months of the year of the dry season, the more than 400,000 people of Badghis province struggle to find safe water to drink and to keep their crops alive.

Much of this responsibility falls to the children so that the parents can work in the fields. All along the road you find children as young as seven leading donkeys piled with yellow plastic jerry cans, walking as far as four hours each way to get water. It's hot, difficult work. To make things worse the water quality in the stagnant river pools is poor with high salinity and water borne diseases which cause high levels of diarrhea and stomach problems. This contributes to the already high levels of acute malnutrition especially for children under five years.

Pictured: Children collecting water from ponds

However, the road we travelled on leads us to the villages that have benefited from the programmes made possible by generous support. Fresh, clean water is available at the turn of a tap right in the centre of a village. It comes from a newly protected fresh spring 13kms away, through gravity fed underground piping which delivers it to the excited villagers. They tell me stories of the huge change it has made to their lives.

Children are released from the daily burden of water collection and the threat of diarrhoea and stomach problems.

At the village of Qarchqai, the sun has become part of the solution to life – powering the new solar well. It pumps water from 90 metres below the ground, which is then piped to the village nearby. It is shared by the local water committee with nearby villages and is now changing the daily life of over 1,000 families.

Pictured: Children stand by a new solar well that will bring clean water to their community 

Their sense of gratitude is best expressed through the words of one of the committee members, "I cannot meet the good people in NZ who made this possible so I will instead pray for them. May God take them straight to heaven when they die" This is a high expression of gratitude from a people of deep faith. 

One elder said to me "We want to be secure and for our children to be safe. But this is not our war, we don't believe in the politics of it. Please don't leave us alone." 

For the last few years World Vision has been the only International Humanitarian Agency working in the countryside of Badghis province. We can work unhindered because of the strength of our relationships, our commitment to neutrality and because of our impact in changing the lives of villagers. With your assistance, we have been able to ensure the people of Badghis are not left alone and with the future generosity of Kiwis we will remain committed to working with the people of Afghanistan to see lives transformed.
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