Starting in 2016, HORCO began working with the people of the Menjigso Gora Villages to complete the first half of the 2-year project which, when completed by the end of 2017, would bring clean water and sanitation to about 1,500 people. A previously existing well was fitted with a new pump (provided by the Villages) and generator (provided by the Ethiopian Government) to pump clean water into a new 27,000 L reservoir. The reservoir now feeds a number of new water points located as far away as 7 km, by regulated gravity flow. In 2016, pipe was laid and water points were constructed for 3 of the 6 planned water points in the Villages. Other water points were completed for the near-by elementary school and the healthcare clinic. Clothes washing tables and livestock troughs were built as part of the clean water system. Sanitation and personal hygiene were taught in small groups throughout the year. Families were taught how to make a sanitary pit latrine, and a high percentage of families actually did so. A pit latrine was constructed at the school with separate stalls for boys, girls and teachers. A community sanitation team was established to continue training and monitoring of sanitary practices.
The single water point that the government had previously built beside the well was no longer working and was too far away for it to be reasonable for people to make the trek. For some families, they had to choose between sending kids to school 6 km away or sending them for water. The other option was a dirty pond that animals and humans alike used for water, which means that this water was likely the source of the large number of waterborne illnesses in the region.
In 2019 Bob, Steph, Grace and Dagim visited the reservoir and a few water points; most enjoyable was the water point at the local school. The children here welcomed us in their brightly coloured uniforms and invited us to try out their clean water from the taps located right inside the school walls. This school, prior to the water point installation, could not keep teachers. At one point it had 3 teachers for 500 students. After the clean water was flowing 14 teachers were available to move to this rural school. What a difference water makes.