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Fatima benefits easily accessible water thanks to Caritas Credits: NCA 2009

Fatima benefits easily accessible water thanks to Caritas
Credits: NCA 2009

Eleven-year old Fatima lives with her family in Khamsadageig IDP camp in Darfur. It is home to 19,000 people. Established in 2005, it is one of the oldest camps in Darfur. Caritas supports programmes that provide water, sanitation facilities and hygiene promotion campaigns in the camp.

As the eldest of five siblings, she must help her mother fetch the family’s water every day. Together they collect at least 80 litres of water for cooking, washing and other daily needs.

As in many conflicts, the Darfur crisis has affected children in such a profound way. Harrowing stories of loss, deprivation and abuse are common, especially among women and girls.

Caritas is working towards reducing the burden children have to face as a result of the humanitarian crisis.

One of the success stories is the water, sanitation and hygiene promotion initiative. Caritas partners in Darfur, Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), provide water to over 130,000 people made homeless by the fighting and to host communities affected by the conflict in camps of Zalingie and surrounding villages in West Darfur.

Caritas partners work in Khamsadageig IDPs camp, where Fatima lives. It is home to 19,000 people. Established in 2005, it is one of the oldest camps in Darfur. Caritas supports programmes that provide water, sanitation facilities and hygiene promotion campaigns in the camp.

This project has reduced the daily weight children suffer when collecting water for household use and in turn has many direct and indirect benefits.

Fatima says it is much easier now that the water is closer to her ‘home’ in the camp. ‘I have many friends and we have time to meet and play because it is easier for us to collect the water before going to school or play, she said.

She is thankful that water and sanitary facilities were provided at her school. Access to these facilities has made it easier for her to attend school. Caritas partners provide safe running water at the school, separate latrines for boys and girls, hand washing facilities and cleaning tools

Sub-Saharan Africa faces some of the worst deficits – only 56 percent of people in the region have access to clean water and only 37 percent have access to sanitation facilities 1. In Sudan, like in many other cultures, women and girls are primarily responsible for the use and management of water resources, sanitation and health at the household level 2.

Fatima scarcely remembers much about her village but her mother tells her that getting water in the village was more difficult as they had to walk for at least an hour to get access to clean water.


1 UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2004). A Gender Perspective on Water Resources and Sanitation, Background Paper No.2, Commission on Sustainable Development, New York, USA. Accessed on May 27th, 2009 athttp://www.un.org/esa/sustdev csd/csd13/documents/bground_2.pdf 

2 UN Water for Life (2005). Gender, Water and Sanitation, Policy Brief. Accessed on May 27th, 2009 athttp://www.un.org/waterforlife decade/pdf/un_water_policy_brief_2_gender.pdf