Enanye Kassaye, a 35-year-old resident of Awroy Village in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia, has faced numerous challenges due to the lack of access to clean drinking water. Being married and having three children, Enanye requires large quantities of this precious commodity every day. However, she has had no access to clean and safe water for an entire year.
The water point that she and the entire community depended on for water broke down and could not be fixed due to a lack of spare parts and repair skills.

Enanye collecting safe water from the newly fixed hand pump
The absence of clean drinking water in Awroy has forced women and girls to embark on long, arduous journeys in search of water sources. Unfortunately, even when they find a source, it is often shallow and contaminated. Enanye vividly recalls the daily ordeal of walking up to two kilometres just to obtain clean water from a spring located outside their village.
“When the water pump broke down, our clean water problems escalated dramatically,” Enanye shares, her voice filled with anguish. “There were days when my children had to go to school without the luxury of washing their hands, faces, and clothes.”
The physically demanding task of fetching water took a toll on the girls’ academic performance, leaving them exhausted by the time they reached their classes and, in many cases, missed classes altogether.
The lack of water not only affected daily life but also had severe implications for agricultural productivity in the village. Without access to water, the women were unable to grow vegetables and faced challenges in sustaining their agricultural activities. This resulted in malnutrition, especially among households with children.
In response to this pressing issue, the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati – facilitated by Vita, has partnered with the local community to address these historical water problems by fixing broken water points in Amhara. Fixing community water points will result in water being accessed within a 30-minute round trip. This will give women like Enanye more time to engage in social and economic activities.
The partnership is also equipping the community with basic water point repair skills to enable them to carry out minor works. Additional spare parts are also being supplied for each water point that is fixed. These two interventions will ensure that the community has continuous access to clean water.
Functional waterpoint
The Vita methodology is to use a community-led model, ensuring that through triggering processes, communities drive their own development with Vita as facilitator.
Moreover, clean water does not need to be boiled to sanitise it. The less wood burnt, the less carbon emissions going into the atmosphere. Each tonne of carbon emissions saved converts – through an international independent accreditation process – to a tonne of carbon offsets. Vita can sell the offsets and reinvest the profits back into the community. Additionally, because water no longer needs to be boiled, the local forestry has an opportunity to replenish and grow, which has very positive impacts on the local environment, water courses, soil retention, etc.
The effects of this circular model on the lives of communities are immediate and is aligned with the catholic social teaching (solidarity, subsidiarity and human dignity).
The programme also strongly aligns to eight of the SDGs and the overriding principle of Laudato Si’ – addressing the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.