torsdag den 10. april 2014

Water is hope.

I never, ever have to worry about where my next glass of water is coming from. 
When I am thirsty, I go into the kitchen, turn on the tap, fill my glass with  water and quench my thirst.

 I never have to ask myself, whether it will give me diarrhea or worse. Our water is clean, easily available and I take it for granted. 
The situation for people in many other parts of the world is completely different. 
Etienne Katcheleva is one of my Esperantist Facebook friends. Some time ago, he told me some of the hard facts about the water situation in his home town in the still troubled eastern part of the  Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to a report issued by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP): ''The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) possesses over half of Africa’s water reserves, yet 74 percent of its population – or approximately 51 million people – lack access to safe drinking water.'' 
Etienne, who is an agronomist, comes from a small town called Kalima , which lies 100 kms northeast of Kindu, the capital of the eastern province of Maniema. When Etienne was a student, he and some of his friends started a N.G.O. called Peasant Solidarity. Their aim was and still is to combat poverty by encouraging more and better horticulture, fish-farming and animal husbandry. However their number one priority is the provision of water, pure uncontaminated water for the everybody in the area.
Etienne told me that only 2% of the 136000 residents in Kalima have access to safe drinking water. The rest have to depend on untreated water from badly maintained reservoirs and other unsafe sources. Etienne told me, that last year 34% of the infant mortality rate was due to diarrhea.

 According to local custom, young girls collect the water, and they have to walk a very long way to find it. It is not just hard work, it can also be dangerous, because sometimes they are attacked and raped en route. As it is a taboo subject,  it is difficult to tell how big a problem it is.

Etienne has drawn up a plan to provide safe drinking water for the people in Kalima. The only snag is  money. He has proposed two schemes. The first one, would provide safe drinking water for part of the town at a cost 247,047 euros and the second one, which would cost 861, 906 euros, would solve everybody's problem.

Last year,  thanks to Associationof Green Esperantists  and the German company
 Wasserkraft Volk AG ,  Peasant Solidarity received a grant of  3380 euros, which covered the cost of water installations for the Kalima General Hospital, and a few of its immediate neighbors.
They have applied for grants  from other firms and organizations, but so far they have been unsuccessful. Possibly you are wondering why a governmental agency does not step in to help them. Well, REGIDESO which has a monopoly of drinking water in DR Congo does not operate in Kalima or in the province of Maniema.

 If you would like to read more about the history of this NGO Etienne's blog has been partly translated into English and the blog's numerous photos speak for themselves. 

For further information or to make a contribution please  get in touch with Peasant Solidarity
 Etienne Katchelewa:

Tel:+243 998735042.



City: Kalima No. 29, District: Munyangi, Country: DR Congo

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