For most people Angola is synonymous with civil war. Thankfully the country is now recovering after 27 war torn years, but it left 1.5 million dead, displaced a further 4.5 million and destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure.
The population has been left in appalling poverty and, although the country is now stable and the economy is growing, little has been invested in the rural areas. 94% of the country live in abject poverty and over half of Angolans have no access to clean water.
Through the sale of One Water over the last seven years, long term One supporters, Peros, have donated over £1.2m to water projects. This year alone they have donated over £288,000 to a large-scale water, hygiene and sanitation programme in Angola, which will fund 46 new water pumps, bringing access to clean water for over 107,000 people living in the rural communities of Baia Farta, Chinguar, Tchindjenje and Moxico.
At the end of July, Nikki from The One Foundation accompanied Andy Eden, Financial controller for Peros, on a visit to Angola to see the work that Peros are supporting.
Angola has one of the highest rates of child mortality in southern Africa. 16% of children die before the age of five, many from water-borne diseases including diarrhea and cholera.
In each of the five communities they visited, the villagers took Nikki and Andy to visit their previous water sources where they had no option but to collect water from contaminated, dirty sources.
One of the villagers, Domingos Ramos Njololo, told us:
Some time after our child was born, we noticed that she was not moving. We gave her so much medication, but still she did not get better. We discovered too late that our child had diarrhea and we buried her. After this many children were dying, but we could not actually confirm what was causing the deaths. But now with this water pump people don’t get sick and we don’t see premature deaths. This is very good as it gives us life for many years and with this we enjoy life and we are so happy with what you did for us.
Thanks to support from Peros, these communities now have access to safe, clean water in their villages. As a result, illness has dramatically reduced, and children can spend time in school rather than spending hours collecting water. Communities celebrated and showed their thanks and appreciation with African singing, dancing and heart felt speeches.
The importance of hygiene and sanitation education is critical for a successful programme. Communities are taught to be ‘open defecation free’. 5 latrines were built in Shilata Village in the Chinjenje district as part of this programme, and the community has now taken it upon themselves to build a further 30, with the aim of every household eventually having their own latrine.
It was an amazing trip, a real eye opener to the complexity of the country, to how desperate the need is in Angola, and to the struggles that people face on a daily basis. Most importantly, it was a privilege to see the incredible work we’re doing by funding these sustainable, successful water programmes.
Here are a few final words from Andy, at the end of the trip:
You hear stories about people having no water in remote communities, but I just assumed it was wells and water and that’s what we’ve all been working towards, but it’s much, much more than just the water and the wells – it’s about sanitation and hygiene.
Until you actually see it first hand, it’s really difficult to understand just how much difference it makes. Coming from England and having water all the time, you can’t imagine what it’s like not to have clean water.
They have water, but it’s contaminated. Just seeing the excitement of those villagers having clean water on tap, you can see how much difference this is going to make. Not being ill from drinking the water and not having to drink the same water that they’re washing in. Those simple things together make a massive difference.
The message is that if there’s a choice between One Water and someone else’s water, choose One.
It’s making such a fantastic difference in Angola and everywhere else that One are working.
Andy Eden, Financial Controller, Peros