Kelecho Gerbi, Ethiopia Project Completed

A recently completed water point in Kelecho Gerbi.
When we first met Zinesh in January 2010, she was carrying a 5-gallon container full of water from a local stream to her house. The trip took 45 minutes, one-way. We walked every step of it with her. Thanks to the support of the Water 1st community, Zinesh doesn’t have to make that arduous journey anymore. In June 2011, the Kelecho Gerbi water supply system began delivering water to nine public taps, serving a total of 4,085 community members. Today, Zinesh has a role in keeping the water system functioning as a member of the Kelecho Gerbi water committee. She is the Purchaser, which means she requests funds from the Cashier and takes those funds to town to buy supplies, like diesel fuel, when the operators run low. Zinesh is clearly proud of her role in keeping the water flowing for her community.

Zinesh in 2011, describing her job as Purchaser for the Kelecho Gerbi water supply system.

We look forward to visiting with her again in February 2012 to hear how the new system is working for the community. We’ll learn what lessons they have learned in their first six months on the job. Has the community embraced the new hygiene practices and the use of latrines? Are they experiencing better health and how are they using the time they previously spent carrying water? Join us on the 2012 Ethiopia Water Tour (Feb. 4 – 11) to hear Zinesh’s and other community members responses for yourself!

Kelecho Gerbi is the third project Water 1st has supported in Ethiopia. The Ilamu Muja project was completed in 2008 and serves 3,500 beneficiaries. The Bishikiltu project was completed in 2010 and serves 4,243 beneficiaries. Our partner organization, Water Action, is currently working on our fourth project, Tute Kunche, which will serve approximately 3,000 people.


  1. Karen Nilson says:

    Last week my husband Chris and I returned from traveling in Ethiopia with Water1st. I have made multiple trips and count these villages as some of my favorite places. I love to repeat the names when I tell stories from our trip, Ilama Muja, Bishikiltu, Kelecho Gerbi, Tute Kunche…

    Some people wonder why I go back, after all, I don’t have the expertise in the engineering necessary for this work, but my own work with children and families provides a lens for bearing witness to the deep community roots now nourished by clean water. Village leaders meet with us and describe how they are elected and make decisions about a shared resource. They have already forgotten the hard work it took to build the project. Instead, they describe new confidence as a result of training, and belief in future plans based on their success. They know they have improved the lives of their children. These learning experiences are the roots of hope–the same kind of experiences I see in my elementary school. It is a rare gift to be there to smile, laugh and celebrate all this with these small, but determined communities.

    This is the connection for me, the trips show me how fundamental those roots are for people anywhere. Even in very tough circumstances, we all seek ways to protect the hopes and dreams of our families.

    Thank you, Water1st staff,

    P.S. The coffee is also the great!

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