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UNICEF-supported water trucking helps revive education | by UNICEF Ethiopia
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UNICEF-supported water trucking helps revive education

A truck carrying 10,000 litres of water makes its way through mountainous terrain, heading to Gonka Complete Primary School in Gonka Kebele (sub-district), high in the mountains of Tigray Region’s Hintalo Wejirat Woreda (district). The roughly 90 km round-trip journey takes about four-and-half hours and is made every other day to supply water for the remote community.

The ongoing drought has caused water scarcity in the area. By March 2016, the yield of a shallow well that serves the community, located about 40 metres from the school, had reduced by 50 per cent.

Haftu Gebreziher, the director of the Gonka Complete Primary School says that he was losing students by the day, estimating a 60 per cent absentee rate. Some were spending the day walking for hours fetching water at the distant river, others couldn’t pay attention in class. Now, with UNICEF-supported water trucking services and the Government school feeding programme, that has changed, he says.

As of April 2016, through water trucking interventions in drought-affected areas in six Regional States, including at Gonka Complete Primary School to serve Gonka Kebele, UNICEF has delivered approximately 15 million litres of water to 300,000 people and distributed WASH supplies including water treatment chemicals, soaps and jerry cans to over 600,000 people. UNICEF, the WASH cluster lead, is also supporting the Government of Ethiopia and other partners in the rehabilitation, maintenance and construction of new water supply systems, provision of water purification and treatment chemicals, scaling up of water trucking activities, and provision of sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools. UNICEF is also exploring innovative ways to use satellites to detect deep groundwater for large scale, multiple-village water supply systems.

© UNICEF Ethiopia/2016/Hema Balasundaram

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Taken on April 26, 2016