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Madiha’s life made easy – it’s all on the record for EMPOWERS

Published on: 05/09/2006

Life in Kassab village in Egypt is changing as traditional methods of collecting and storing water are replaced by a cleaner and easier supply to taps at home. The first pilot project of EMPOWERS supports families to connect water pipes to their homes, through loans to spread the cost of connection.

Life in Kassab village in Egypt is changing as traditional methods of collecting and storing water are replaced by a cleaner and easier supply to taps at home. The first pilot project of EMPOWERS supports families to connect water pipes to their homes, through loans to spread the cost of connection. EMPOWERS is a partnership of fifteen organisations allied together to improve the long-term access to water by communities in Egypt, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza.

Madiha and her family used to drink water from the “zeer”, the water container well known all over rural Egypt. It is mainly for storing water for drinking and cooking but is neither practical nor safe. The quality of water is not always good because Madiha either gets it from neighbours with a water connection or from the canal.

 Egyption zeer
 
new tap
 

Madiha’s family was one of the families that benefited from the loans given by EMPOWERS for making in-house water connections. Her life and those of her children have become much easier. She has tap water and she doesn’t have to worry every morning where and how to get water. She uses the tap water to drink, cook, clean and for bathing her children, faster and with a better water quality.

Madiha family
 

Although Madiha has to pay back the loan to the village Community Development Association (CDA), she and her husband are happy that they could pay a little amount every month instead of paying it all at once. This also gave them the opportunity to buy a modern stove where they can cook their food and bake their bread.

The family still has water problems, for example in getting rid of the wastewater. They dump the water in front of their house which creates an unhealthy environment. The village lacks an appropriate system for sanitation and solid waste management.

Process documentation and learning

The pictures are an excellent example of the process documentation and learning and sharing work of the EMPOWERS alliance. Each country partner has one full time information communication specialist who produces snapshots, newsletters, story books and web sites. The regional information and communication officer helps the development process by sharing information and key lessons.

The job description of an EMPOWERS Country Information and Communication officer may be of interest to other national and regional resource centres.

Services provided

Each Country Information and Communication Officer supports EMPOWERS colleagues to document and share information about what is being done, in particular by:

  • Conducting interviews, taking photographs, making video sequences
  • Developing newsletters, newspaper articles, a web site, flyers, briefing notes, short video films and other information outputs
  • Editing and abstracting project documents into articles for newsletters and the web site
  • Feeding country information products into the regional information programme
  • Setting up and maintaining country web pages
  • Contributing to the country information plan
  • Filing project documents and outputs
  • Supporting the team in administrative logistical tasks.
  • Assisting in the organisation of workshops and conferences
  • Helping with translation of documents and outputs from Arabic into English and vice versa.

Skills required

These tasks require a variety of skills including:

  • Good journalistic writing skills
  • Creativity in turning technical documents into information for a wider audience
  • Know-how to work with journalists, photographers, graphic designers, video producers etc.
  • Organisational capacities
  • Experience in the NGO sector
  • English and Arabic language skills
  • Computer skills in e.g. Microsoft Office.

A wealth of materials resulting from their work is available in English and Arabic from the EMPOWERS site .

The EMPOWERS (2003-2007) project in Egypt, Jordan, and Palestine is mainly funded through the European Union’s Regional MEDA Water Programme for Local Water Management.

The EMPOWERS team will present one of the papers at IRC’s Capacity Strengthening symposium in September 2006.

Partners in EMPOWERS

  • CARE International
  • IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre , The Netherlands
  • Inter-Islamic Network on Water Resources Development and Management (INWRDAM), Jordan
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Jordan
  • The NationalWaterResearchCenter (NWRC), Egypt
  • Palestinian Hydrology Group (PHG), Palestine
  • The Queen Zein Al Sharaf Institute for Development (ZENID), Jordan
  • Development Research and Technological Planning Center (DRTPC) / Cairo University, Egypt
  • Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), Palestine

For more information: May Abu-Elseoud, CARE, P.O. Box 2019, Cairo, Egypt, e-mail: melsoda@egypt.care.org