: Qatar Charity (QC) has established a solar-powered artesian well in the village of Sowna and carried out several income-generating projects in the village of Aichign, in Niger.
The projects have benefited 14,000 residents of both villages and was part of QC’s development programmes for rural communities which focus on income-generating initiatives in poor villages with participation by residents.
Aichign, with a population of about 8,000, suffers from severe poverty and has been prioritised by QC due to inadequate sanitation and lack of essential medicines; lack of classrooms to teach children; and inadequate distribution points for potable water (more than 1,000 people were living without potable water)
QC has also funded income-generating activities (mill grain, cattle and sheep fattening, school gardens, shops, agricultural inputs, animal drawn carts and other projects) and revenue from these will be used to improve facilities and services in the village.
So far, revenue has been used to establish a store for medicines which will help solve health problems of residents of the village and 12 nearby villages, who were previously dependent on one rural pharmacy.
Medicines are used to tackle malaria and other diseases that cause high mortality in Niger.
Funds have also been used to help solve the problem of emergency transportation with the provision of a vehicle for transporting patients, particularly in emergency.
Previously these patients were moved via animal-drawn carts or motorcycles.
The desperate conditions in Sowna have led to urgent intervention by QC and its partners to dig a modern solar-powered well. It is now functioning and villages have access to safe drinking water for free.
Six classrooms were built within the only elementary school which serves 546 students, along with a 10.8 cubic metres water tank with an electric pump to fill it. Sowna has a population of 6,000 and is located in the municipality of Korti, Tillabery province, around 58km from capital Niamey and is one of the poorest regions. There are not any modern water distribution points in the village.
Residents were forced to walk five kilometres a day to get water from the only well, an ancient construction, containing polluted water also used by livestock.
The polluted water had led to diseases and epidemics, causing deaths, particularly among children, the elderly and women. Some diseases, such as cholera and schistosomiasis, recurred annually and could only be prevented by the provision of a source of clean water.