UMCOR

United Methodist Committee on Relief

In Sudan: Clean Water, Less Illness

Nybol draws clean water from the rehabilitated Zamzam Water Yard in Adilla Town. Photo by Osman FadolNybol draws clean water from the rehabilitated Zamzam Water Yard in Adilla Town. Photo by Osman Fadol


UMCOR helps improve community water access and management in East Darfur state

It is just 7:00 a.m., and Nybol, a mother of three, is already in the queue at Zamzam Water Yard in the town of Adilla in East Darfur state, Sudan. She is waiting her turn to fill her jerry cans with clean, fresh water. Despite the early hour, she is happy to be there because she knows this water is safe for her family.

Not long ago Nybol, who arrived in Sudan just six months earlier, had to travel to the village of Adilla West to fetch water from a borehole there. “It took us two hours to go and come back with one 20-litre jerry can of water,” she recalls.

Besides being far away, the water from the borehole was unsafe, as both humans and animals used the same trough. “We knew the Adilla West borehole water wasn’t clean and that it made our children sick,” Nybol says, “but we didn’t have any other choice — until Zamzam Water Yard was rehabilitated.” 

As part of the rehabilitation project, UMCOR worked with the community to establish a water and sanitation committee comprised of community members. Photo by Osman Fadol
As part of the rehabilitation project, UMCOR worked with the community to establish a water and sanitation committee comprised of community members. Photo by Osman Fadol

Last December, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), with funds from the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), completed the rehabilitation of Zamzam Water Yard. Today, it provides more than 250 families with clean, safe water for all their household needs, from drinking to bathing to cleaning the dishes.

Nybol and her neighbors pay a modest fee for the water they draw at Zamzam, money that goes back into the maintenance of the water source. And it is the community itself who takes care of the water yard.

As part of the rehabilitation project, the water, sanitation, and hygiene staff of UMCOR’s Sudan country office worked with the community to establish a nine-member water and sanitation committee comprised of community members. The committee promotes responsible use of the borehole, builds awareness of water and sanitation issues, and calls the community to action to address sanitation needs.

Camels and other animals drink from a dedicated trough at the Zamzam Water Yard. Photo by Osman Fadol
Camels and other animals drink from a dedicated trough at the Zamzam Water Yard. Photo by Osman Fadol

The creation of community boards like the one established for Zamzam Water Yard is an important capacity-building measure that complements the water yard rehabilitation and ensures its operation.

“Now I am able to get six jerry cans of water each day instead of the two I filled in the past, and I now have more time for farming,” says Nybol. "The big difference between Zamzam water and the water of the Adilla West borehole is that the Zamzam water is clean and safe for drinking.” 

Read more from our series on Sudan

A Family Finds Shelter in Abukarinka, East Darfur

In Sudan: Skills Training Allows Displaced Persons to Feed Their Families

Bringing Improved Seeds to East Darfur

Clean, Safe Water Improves Life in East Darfur

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