Feliciana's Story: Life without clean water in the Namibe desert

Published: Jan 5, 2023 Reading time: 3 minutes
Feliciana's Story: Life without clean water in the Namibe desert
© Tereza Hronova

In the last decade, southern Angola has experienced the impacts of climate change more strongly than ever. Increased droughts and other climate-related disasters have severely affected the provinces – Namibe, Cunene, Huila and Bié. People living there have minimal access to water, and it causes obstacles to agriculture and the production of almost everything. 

Feliciana, a single mother, lives in a dwelling made of corrugated iron in the deserted suburb of Moçâmedes town. The home she shares with her children is very humble—it has only one room where they live, sleep, and cook. "Six people have lived here for two years," she noted.

Feliciana's family has no access to clean water; the only source is a hole in the ground one hour away from her home. Sometimes, she comes to the water source late when it is already too contaminated and undrinkable. She can only use the water to wash clothes.

"We drew water from that hole; we take an hour's walk to go and an hour to return; practically two hours. Every day I go two or three times to fetch water for four or five days a week." 

Water is vital for local population

It takes a lot of work to make a little money in this area. Feliciana found out that she could be paid for carrying water to other people. But her health is deteriorating as a result.

"I earn five hundred kwanzas [0,94 EUR] a day, carrying water for other people, and I have felt much pain in my chest from carrying weight."

To alleviate water problems, People in Need (PIN) built a water point that guarantees everyone in the community access to clean, drinkable water. Thanks to the water well, Feliciana can fetch water any time she needs it and will be sure of its quality. Her only wish is to have a water point near her home because getting water from far away is tiring.

The Namibe province is unique – it is a coastal area and almost all a desert. Rainfall is rare, and local people depend on limited groundwater sources and seasonal rivers, which they use for irrigation, livestock, and consumption. All these factors make the population living in the desert Namibe highly vulnerable and liable to changes in local ecosystems. People in Need (PIN), jointly with Action for Solidarity and Development, aims to improve the resilience and nutritional status of the communities in Moçâmedes and Camacuio.

The project "Omande Win-Integrated Support to the Water and Nutrition Sector in Namibe" is funded by the FRESAN Program and is implemented to increase the capacity and use of drinking water sources and improve access to drinking water for human consumption and food processing.

This material was created within the 1Planet4All project funded by the European Union.
Autor: Tereza Hronova, Karolina Sugarova

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