Walk for Water: "It’s incredible to me that so many of you chose to challenge yourself"

6 May 2021

A man in a light blue shirt smiles in front of some trees

Abebe Belachew, CAFOD’s climate change officer in Ethiopia.

Abebe Belachew is a climate change expert working in Ethiopia. He knows what a huge difference safe access to water can make to people living in remote communities.

Seeing the struggle for water first-hand

In the bustling city of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, it’s easy for me to get water. As for most of you in the UK, water flows from a tap just a few steps away in the kitchen.

Sadly, for a lot of the people I work with in the remotest regions of my country, water is not so easily reached. The farmers I meet are struggling to grow enough food because they do not have enough water.

This is not their fault. Rainfall used to be a steady and regular thing – something reliable. Farmers would know when to expect rainy seasons and when to prepare for dry seasons. They would plan accordingly.

But climate change means they can no longer do this. The rains are no longer reliable.

Rivers that used to flow near villages are now all dried up. Women, men and children are forced to undertake long, dangerous journeys to their nearest water sources – just to get enough water to keep their families alive. This is the case for so many people around the world.

See the difference you are making to communities around the world

To everyone who walked - thank you

But for those of you who took part in the Walk for Water challenge this Lent, this will not be news. It’s the reason why thousands of you walked in solidarity with Abdella.

To everyone who walked and everyone who sponsored them: thank you.

It’s incredible to me that so many of you chose to challenge yourself, raising money to support your sisters and brothers with safe access to clean water. Because of you, people around the world (not just in Ethiopia, but in Sudan, West Africa and Latin America too) will get help building things like solar-powered water pumps near their homes.

Ibrahim by a water pump

“Just opening the pump on that day, everything we did centred on happiness. We felt happy all day.”

Ibrahim, whose community live in what many believe to be the hottest place on earth

This is a huge success. And I have already seen the profound difference this can make to the families I work with.

Pumps provide a steady supply of clean, fresh water that’s safe to drink, wash and farm with. Hard-working farmers can grow even more food, more reliably, to keep their families healthy and happy.

As Ibrahim told us about the water pumps in his community: “Just opening the pump on that day, everything we did centred on happiness. We felt happy all day.”

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