Thirsting for a future

Improving access to safe drinking water through a mobile phone is now possible in Chad

Tresorier General ACGPE Ndjam Bilala Al-hadji Ismail.JPG

By Rodolphe Houlsonron

Water is life, it is said. This is especially true, for the rural communities of Yao in the Batha region. Nearly 115,000 people, mostly women and children suffering from a cruel lack of safe drinking water, have just benefited from 139 water points and sanitation thanks to the support of the Swiss Cooperation in Chad. In the rural communities of Yao in central-eastern Chad, women no longer have to travel tens of kilometers every day to collect water.

Saleh Sossal Attahir, 38, is a member of the water point management committee « AL-HAYA » (life) in Ambassatna. « In the water sector, several projects have been implemented in the Batha region where more than half of the population drinks poor quality water. In the past, we had a lot of trouble repairing the pumps. Some water points were abandoned for months because the committees did not manage well the money that had to be used for repairs. »

Our committee joined the Ambassatna Association, which manages 31 water points management committees. They collect the revenues from water sales which are paid on the TIGO-CASH account of the association.

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« Thanks to mobile payment with TIGO-CASH, the funds are managed with transparency. For the month of April alone, we were able to have 3 pumps repaired thanks to the mobile phone funds transfer, » adds Saleh Sossal Attahir.

Each committee contributed to our TIGO-CASH account and the funds collected were allocated for various expenses such as remuneration of the person in charge of the water distribution, travel expenses, administrative expenses, small and large failures, or the purchase of new pumps.

Thanks to the funding of the Swiss Cooperation in partnership with UNICEF, more than 140 mechanized boreholes equipped with hand pump have been built in the Yao health district.

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Today in Chad more than 140 water points management committees are involved in the mobile phone payment system, which improves the accountability of the management committees and ensures the continuity of water supply to the most vulnerable populations. To address climate change, it is essential to appeal to innovations, including mobile technologies to support communities to better manage their resources.

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UNICEF is actively working with ADRA, a national NGO for the construction of water points, latrines, and the promotion of good hygiene practices. In addition, the Water and Sanitation for Africa (WSA) is in charge of the capacity building of the water points management committees. Ten artisans’ repairers were also trained to carry out maintenance work in the event of a breakdown or failure.

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