For years, GAiN has seen the plight of contaminated water throughout Ethiopia, but the timing to start a water project in the country was never quite right. After a year of responding to the severe drought among the Borana people in the south, the door was now open.
"There is a desperate need for water in this area," shares Dennis Fierbach, GAiN's Director of Water Strategies. "People are drinking water from a dugout, which is far from their villages, and the dirty water is making them sick. Wells in these villages will significantly help them and change their lives."
Damtew Kifelew, the National Director of the Great Commission Movement, commented, “Without water there is no future for these people. All their cattle have died, which they used to depend on for their livelihood. With water wells, they can settle down, their children can get an education, and they will have a future.”
As a result, GAiN partnered with International Aid Services (IAS); a likeminded partner who has expertise in drilling wells in Ethiopia and has a relatively new drill rig that hasn't been used recently.
"In the past we've partnered with IAS on our water project in southern Sudan," shares Bill Blaney, GAiN's Executive Director and CEO. "The working relationship was very positive and 75 water wells were provided, resulting in
approximately 75,000 Sudanese with diseasefree water."
Due to very little geological information for the southern region, IAS will initially drill five wells. The first well will be in Gadhamoji, which is the village where GAiN provided aid to the 2,500 Borana. Once the five wells have been provided, an evaluation will be conducted and any adjustments will be made before additional wells are drilled.
For the long-term, an agreement has been put in place with IAS to drill up to 24 wells in the Borana region.
During a vision trip in the fall of 2012, the team met with Ketema Kinfe, the Ethiopian IAS Country Manager, and Isayas Seyoum, IAS Project Manager, in Gadhamoji village. Ketema was very excited about the project. Since he grew up in the neighboring province, he speaks the Borana language and knows the culture and customs. In fact, he shared that for 20 years he had been praying for the opportunity to help the Borana people.
As the first step for the project, IAS had to get permission from the local government officials to drill wells in the region. To their surprise, the team not only received the permission in record time, they were given a blanket permit to drill wells where needed in the area; something that is unheard of in Ethiopia!
Through all of this, GAiN has seen God’s hand on this project and the team is looking forward to seeing lives transformed.
Just as the provision of food and non-food items helped to open the door for God's love to be demonstrated with the people of Gadhamoji and surrounding villages, so the water wells will open doors with even more people.