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Khamdee walks eight kilometres every day for water

This World Water Day, ChildFund in Laos is working across rural and remote of the country to ensure that children and young people can access safe, clean water in their homes.

Khamdee, 30-years-old, is a mother to three young children and lives in a remote village in Huaphanh province, her home perched on top of the steep slope of the mountains. She walks up to nine kilometres every day to provide safe water to her family.

In 2015 a water tank was built by the community near her home, but it wasn’t big enough to supply water to all 300 homes in the village and over time the tank cracked and broke down.

Many children in the village were sent by their parents to collect water from a nearby stream. But Khamdee knows how dangerous and difficult this trip could be and has never allowed her children to make the journey.

“Carrying water all the way back home is heavy,” she said. “The stream is in the lowlands, about four kilometres away from my home. Sometimes we must walk eight kilometres to get enough water. My husband and I have to carry two 18L barrels each twice a day — once in the morning before we head to the farm, and another after coming back home in the evening.”

Some days, she would have to make three trips so everyone in her family could have safe drinking water and water for hygiene. This placed a significant burden on Khamdee, who is already responsible for her young children, and running her household and the family farm. She said every day was exhausting.

ChildFund in Laos partnered with local authorities and organisations to rebuild the water tank and create a plumbing system in Phoupied village so that every household could have access to safe, running water at any time of day.

They also installed a water meter in each household to monitor water usage. Each household pays for how much water they use and these funds are then used to maintain the water tank and plumbing system, to ensure it is sustainable.

“I was so happy when I heard that a new water tank was going to be constructed for our village,” said Khamdee. “To have running water available in our homes is amazing. I can cook, do our laundry, bathe, and have clean and safe drinking water to give to my children anytime.”

In partnership with Save the Children, CARE, and Comité de Coopération avec le Laos (CCL), the ‘Sustainable Change Achieved through Linking Improved Nutrition and Governance’(SCALING)project seeks to improve food, water and nutrition security among rural areas in the Huaphanh Province.

The project focusses on improving nutrition in adolescent girls, and pregnant and lactating women. ChildFund’s SCALING activities is funded by the European Union and works in three villages and a total of 14 districts in Huaphanh.

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