22 March 2022

4 ways Brooke is bringing water to communities

Water holds immense value. Every day, people use water in a variety of ways, including drinking, agriculture, hygiene, sanitation, and health care. Water resources can be very precious in low-income communities that rely on working equines. To mark World Water Day, here are four examples of how Brooke is helping to promote the importance of fresh water and improving access.

1. Changing perceptions in a remote Pakistan coal mine

Equine owner Essa works in the Kataas Raj Coal mines. These mines are situated high up in the remote mountains and the only way water can reach the mines is through a daily supply of water through tanks on vehicles, which are filled in the valley below. Drinking water has become a precious commodity, and sometimes there is a shortage of water due to road and weather conditions. The animals suffer greatly in the mines due to dehydration. Brooke provided water troughs for the animals, and the team explained to the owner of the company how important fresh drinking water is for the labour of humans and animals alike. 

Essa ensures that fresh water is available to the animals both during and after work. He said: “There were myths around feeding your animals with water during work. Our elders told us not to give or allow animals to have water during work as this can make their belly grow bigger and heavier and they will not work. These myths were busted by the Brooke team, and they explained what the signs of a dehydrated animal are. We now have made a large tank on the coal mine site, and every donkey owner regularly provides the water to these animals. Our animals are now more active, and they know where the water trough is to come to get it on their own, and we don’t stop them anymore."

2. A borehole provides relief for women and donkeys

Brooke is quenching the thirst of donkeys and their owners in Silmiougou, a village in the north central of Burkina Faso. In spring 2020, Brooke installed a new borehole, equipped with a solar pump and a polytank on a metal frame. Previously, the community had to use an old and broken well. Maria Ouedraogo, 40, lives in the village with her seven children. She said: “Before, we had difficulty getting water. Now, with this borehole in the village, we suffer less and we have drinking water. Donkeys used to drink once or twice a day, now they can drink three to four times a day. We are grateful to Brooke.”

There are several immediate benefits that this borehole has granted the community, including providing relief for women and donkeys who would previously have to travel a distance of about ten kilometres to have access to drinking water. In addition, easy and regular watering of donkeys and drinking water for the whole community has led to improved health for not only this community but neighbouring villages too.

3. Spring water for the community

According to WaterAid, almost four in ten of Ethiopia’s 99 million people don’t have clean water – that’s almost 60.5 million people. In rural Ethiopia, women and children have to walk more than three hours to collect water, often from shallow wells or stagnant ponds that they share with animals. Since their daily lives are pre-occupied with this routine, school dropout rates and related problems are very high among rural communities. 

In the Dawuro Zone of Southern Regional State, Brooke and its partner Send a Cow have developed a new spring water point to serve the community. The community played a key role in the completion of this project, with 120 people on the field excavating the land, preparing the environment for water development. There are over 30 households, 184 equines and 300 other animals benefiting from the project. This has resulted in workload reduction for women, and an improvement in sanitation related health problems. 

4. Working together with a brick kiln owner

When Brooke’s team arrived at the Hamza Brick Kiln in Pakistan, the animals did not have ready access to fresh water. Through community engagement sessions, Brooke’s team were able to advocate to both the animal owners and the brick kiln owner the importance of water to equines. A plan was put in place to construct a trough that involved all stakeholders; the bricks to build the trough were donated by the brick kiln owner and the owners built it and promised to maintain it, carried out under the guidance of the Brooke team. This is an example of how a small victory can make a big difference to the lives of working equines. 

Owner Muhammad Arsad says: “Before Brooke was here, I only offered my horse water at the end of the day. Now I can see that he becomes thirsty throughout the day because he stops off for a drink most times as we pass the water trough.”