In the village of Adjalagan in South Benin, people were deeply rooted in traditional voodoo. Villagers worked hard and relied on farming activities to sell produce at the local market to make a living, but without water access this was even more difficult. There were no schools, nor opportunities for learning. Hygiene in the village and in homes was poor due to the lack of water. The village was dirty and people were living in darkness and despair.
This all changed when Global Aid Network (GAiN) first got involved in Adjalagan almost 10 years ago, providing a deep-capped water well for 1,400 villagers and supporting a local church to introduce people to the Living Water of Jesus. With access to clean water, people were no longer sick and the cleanliness of the community greatly improved. People were finally able to wash their clothes, and sweep and dispose of garbage properly. Access to clean water gave them dignity and improved the mindset of those who now want to take care of themselves, their families and their homes.
Recently, in January, our team visited the community to monitor the impact of the program, connect with the local church, and assess the sustainability of the water well. The pump was functioning very well and the water committee has been maintaining it and arranging for repairs when necessary. The community continues to maintain cleanliness and good hygiene practices taught in the hygiene and sanitation training.
We were excited to see that the community development trainings have proven effective in maintaining the sustainability of the well. With access to clean water helping to bring peace and lessen quarrels in households and among neighbours, the gender sensitivity trainings also helped contribute to understanding between men and women. A total of forty-six men and women attended the training, improving the overall well-being and quality of life for everyone in the village.
Benedict, a former leader in cult practices in Adjalagan, shared:
“GAiN contributed to other changes in our village. It is because of one of their trainings that I am no longer violent with my wife and it brought peace to our household. So many things have changed in our behaviours. This is important because before we did not understand but now we do, especially as we practice these things. In another GAiN training, we realized that we should go to the clinic for the birth of children. We learned that going to school is important and we began by sending our children to school. Many things have changed in our lives. It is as if we were in darkness and GAiN brought us to the light.”
The local church is very engaged in the community and carries the light of Christ to these people. Previously, the villagers were very resistant to the church and tried to force the local pastor to leave. But because of the faithfulness of this pastor and the partnership with GAiN to bring clean water and community development, there is now a thriving church in this community.
Eight years ago, in partnership with the local church, the JESUS film was shown to a total of 405 people in the village, resulting in 114 people making the decision to follow Jesus, and 23 people joining a follow-up group to learn the basics of their new faith. As of January 2021, the local church is attended by over 120 people. People in Adjalagan are no longer interested in practicing Voodoo. Lives have been transformed and people have hope!
For villagers like Benedict, we strive to see a world where a person’s dignity and rights are realized through access to basic water services, while churches actively participate in reversing the cycle of spiritual, physical, social and economic poverty. The COVID-19 pandemic has also demonstrated the critical importance of sanitation, hygiene and adequate access to clean water for preventing and containing diseases.
We are raising $85,000 by June 30 to provide approximately 10,000 villagers in 10 communities with safe water and the Living Water. Would you join us as we help other Benedicts of the world to live out their God-given potential for their lives (John 10:10)? Your donation of $85, $170 or $425 improves, not only family life, but overall quality of life for women, men and children.