|If proof is needed of the long-term sustainability of the work of Self Help, it's to be found amongst the remote rural communities with whom the organisation has worked over the past 20 years.|
Self Help staff finished work in the Meki project area seven years ago in 2001, but today there is still strong evidence of their efforts - in the continuing operation of a wide range of component activities initiated by local communities with the support of the project during the 1990ís.
The area based project at Meki, in Ethiopiaís southern region, had run for two five-year programme cycles (1992-2001, and in that time had worked with approximately 150,000 people to promote a programme of activities in areas such as crop production, afforestation and soil conservation, water and irrigation developments, womens programmes, as well as health, education and training.
In the dry upland areas around Meki the need for safe, clean water supplies was identified by community representatives as key to the success of the programme from the earliest days, and during Self Helpís project work the organisation teamed up with local villagers and Ministry officials to develop rainwater harvesting systems, cap springs, and bore a total of 12 wells to meet the water needs of the local people.
One such well was developed at the village of Soloki, and today the amenity is still operating successful, and servicing the daily water supply needs of more than 600 families (approx. 4,000 people).
A community which had previously had to walk up to three and four hours every day to collect water for household uses, was provided with a supply on itís doorstep.
Householders and farmers in Soloki continue to administer and manage their water supply as they have done since it was built in 1997 - with families being levied 15 cent for each drinking water container which they fill from the pump, and livestock owners being levied five cent per animal which they water at the local drinking trough.
These contributions are recorded and lodged by a group treasurer, and held in reserve towards the ongoing maintenance and future upkeep of a water supply scheme which the people of Soloki are confident will be operating for many years to come.