- Title: MALI: Hand-dug wells help provide communities with clean water
- Date: 24th July 2007
- Summary: (AD1) KUMI, MALI (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF MEN WASHING CLOTHES NEXT TO A RIVER MAN SCRUBBING A CARPET MAN WASHING CLOTHES MEN DIGGING BESIDE A WELL MEN GATHERED ROUND A WELL VARIOUS OF WELL
- Embargoed: 8th August 2007 13:00
- Location: Mali
- Country: Mali
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA518CA805IKVX0V9WFQ54PIKYM
- Story Text: Less than half of Mali's people have access to clean water. Digging enough boreholes to meet the demand would be too expensive, so the government and various charities are encouraging people to rehabilitate old wells that can be found around the country.
In the Heremakono village in Mali a group of young men recently renovated a traditional well so that from now on, its water will be safe to drink.
It was a particularly proud moment for Ngolo Dembele. He paid for this work, so the well now bears his name, elevating his family's status in the community.
"Here in Africa you must do what you can to help the people around you - your neighbours, especially those who don't have any means,"
The majority of traditional wells in Mali are privately owned. Between three and four million people in Mali rely on them as their only source of water. Yet because most are simply holes in the ground with no protection against pollution, they have a reputation for being dirty and unsafe.
"In Mali, the situation is worrying. For example, if I take the case of diarrhoea - it's the third biggest cause of visits to the doctor after malaria and respiratory infections, and children from nought to five years old are taking the heaviest toll of these infections," said Boubacar Maiga, from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
Thanks to a network of charities working specifically on water issues, Mali's health statistics are slowly starting to change.
It is estimated that less than half of Mali's population has access to clean water - and to meet the Millennium Development Goal of clean water for everyone by 2015, Mali would have to dig 1,000 boreholes every year between now and then. That would only cover drinking water.
New boreholes don't come cheap, costing a minimum of 12,000 US dollars each - an impossible investment for people who on average earn less than 50 US cents a day. But for 50 US dollars traditional wells can be renovated and protected to provide drinking water, which is why Mali's government and charities are encouraging people to clean up their old wells.
If enough people in Mali can take up the challenge of managing their own water resources then water-related health problems might soon be a thing of the past, and their resources can be spent on education and food rather than on medical care for preventable illnesses.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None