Why Are Waqf Wells So Urgent for Africa?

The lack of access to clean water is not only a problem related to sanitation, but it also affects education, health, and even security.

A woman collects water for use in her home at the Bakassi IDP camp in Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria's northeastern Borno state. (UNICEF / Abubakar)

ACTNews, JAKARTA - The clean water crisis in Africa is not only a problem that affects sanitation. It causes other complex problems for the Africans, as described by Andi Noor Faradiba of Global Humanity Response – Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT).

“I went to Uganda and Somalia. I could see firsthand how cholera was spread because there was no access to clean water. Most of the locals suffer from this. There are 12.5 million people, and 50% of them need humanitarian assistance that consist of not only food, medical aid and education aid, but also access to clean water, ”Faradiba said on Friday (12/4).

She added that they sometimes took water from the puddles that last for 1 to 2 weeks after raining. They travel for 3 kilometers for several jerry cans of water a day. They often have to use the water also for their crops and livestock from which they make their living. There are several wells, but they no longer have water in them.

"There are many wells, but they only provide water during rainy season. They are very unreliable. During the dry season, there’s no water available. Deep wells can be one of the solutions. In Africa, you have to dig for 20 meters at most, and the well can last for up to ten years,” said Faradiba.

Building Waqf Well in the Horn of Africa' photo

The people of Gubadlay, Mogadishu City, work together to build a Waqf Well on Monday (6/1). (ACTNews)

Children, especially little girls, are among the most-severely affected by the lack of clean water. “In Africa, if a child, especially a girl, reaches the age of 5 or 6, he or she is assigned with getting water. Women and children are tasked with getting clean water. They have to spend one to two hours walking 3-5 kilometers. Imagine carrying water home for such a distance. Due to this laborious task, children are losing their chance to play with their friends, study, or even go to school, ”said Faradiba.

ACT partners in Africa reported that children and women also face dangers when travelling to get clean water. “The children are very prone to kidnappings, harassments, and accidents. They are not accompanied by adults when taking water because they have to work to make a living.  are kidnappings, falls or something like that, so they are very vulnerable to danger during the trip. They are not accompanied by adults because adults have to focus on earning income. It’s a vicious cycle that is difficult to break,” said Faradiba.

ACT and Global Wakaf are trying to solve the water crisis through the Waqf Well program. Compared to two years ago, more waqf wells have been built in five African countries with some of them still under construction.

"We want the benefits that we provide be as wide as possible. We don't want to reach just a few countries. We want to reach all African countries, if necessary, that still have to struggle with water crisis to provide assistance through the Waqf Well,” hoped Faradiba. []