Rural Africa Weekly Report: Prioritising Access to Water for Development and Other Stories
Every week, Rural Reporters collates a report on development in rural Africa and its environs. The reports include are some of our top picks of recent must-read research, interviews, reports, blogs and in-depth articles to help you keep on top of global crises. Here are some of the updates you may have missed from the previous week.
Today, there are more than 750 million people who do not have access to safe water. While commendable efforts have been achieved through the Millennium Development Goal 7 which focused in part on access to sustainable safe drinking water and basic sanitation services, water scarcity still affects more than 40% of people, across every continent. However, the number of people without access to safe water might increase if creatively efficient solutions are now development, urgently.
In order to find sustainable solutions to the escalating global water crisis, world leaders alongside over 3,000 development experts and stakeholders from across 120 countries are meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, this week for the annual World Water Week conference, which wraps up today. The theme is Water for Development.
The remoteness of Gwassi, coupled with long-term neglect, have conspired to deny its people the human wisdom to trap the abundant rain water that violently courses through the valleys during the rainy seasons, dam the rivers, pump the water up the hills and use gravity to irrigate the region.
Unfortunately, we make assumptions our rural folks can do the right thing. Time and again we know this is not happening. Lacking in exposure, rural folks need help to make the right decisions and discard archaic methods of doing things.
Rainwater harvesting is essential for managing water and dry spels on the continent, said Malin Falkenmark, senior adviser at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).
“Green water, the hidden water in the soil … is the key to future food production in Africa,” she told the World Water Week conference in Stockholm. “Dry spells can be managed by rainwater harvesting.”
At the end of every wet day, Sali Samake walks to a gauge a short distance from the mud brick houses in her village of Tamala in southwest Mali to measure how much rain has fallen.
It may seem like a modest activity, but the 58-year-old is contributing to essential knowledge for farmers.
In impoverished rural areas of this West African country, women have become central to efforts to adapt to climate change. Their work is gradually helping them increase their political clout, with more women standing in municipal elections.
Nineteen-year-old “Faith” isn’t wearing this scarf to make a fashion statement. Although she’s a typical teen girl who loves pretty clothes, painted nails, poetry, and spending time with her friends; she’s wearing a scarf in this photo because she’s afraid of the backlash she’ll receive if her schoolmates, teachers, and neighbors learn that she’s living with HIV. Faith is an orphan whose parents both died from AIDS when she was a toddler. She has seen the isolation others in her community have faced when their HIV status became public and has decided not to tell those outside of her family that she was born with HIV, because her mother did not have access to antiretroviral treatment when she was pregnant.