Moyale is a sparsely populated area in Ethiopia, which, like many other regions in the country, is facing a significant water shortage. This is caused by a changing climate in the area, which has seen long, dry drought seasons and a lack of rainfall, impacting crop growth and land management.

Most of the residents of Moyale are farmers and rely on a constant water supply to sustain their livelihoods. However, wells run dry for most of the year and the journey to and from water sources is challenging, leaving farmers struggling to feed their families.

Climate change and harmful agricultural practices are also leading to loss of fertile soil and desertification, which is when fertile land becomes desert, posing even greater problems. The loss of fertile soil leads to land releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, further exacerbating the problem. Scientists have warned that if this continues, 95% of earth’s land could become infertile by 2050. 

Islamic Relief is working with communities in Moyale to help build climate smart wells, which are based on solar-power and provide water to communities in short supply. This will mean that farmers no longer need to rely on rain for a successful harvest and it will empower them to take control of their livelihoods.

The key role of solar power

Solar irrigation is used in many regions across the globe and is one of the easiest ways for farmers to access water. Water is generated from the energy of the sun, using solar panels which are connected to solar pumps in wells to provide villagers with a water source throughout the day.

Islamic Relief has kicked off a solar power project in Moyale which is helping to provide water to almost 33,000 residents.

We are also training community members and setting up water committees to oversee the maintenance of the water wells. Women play a key role in this, as they take responsibility of collecting water and tending to the animals.

This project is also giving women and girls in the community easier access to basic services such as education and healthcare, and also providing new agricultural livelihoods.

How the project is helping Nuriya

Mother-of-10 Nuriya is benefitting from the water wells, and also sits on a water committee.

“Prior to the construction of the water wells, I was the one who was taking care of the animals and collecting water. We were facing so many problems, we had to walk for many hours to collect water which was a necessity for our families and animals. If we went to the water point early in the morning, we would return by 10pm. We used to leave our children at home sleeping while we went there. We went through a lot of hard times, especially during the drought season.

“We have now clean water for our animals and for ourselves. It is close to our homes and farms. We no longer have to walk for hours to access water. Children can go to school without worrying about collecting water from far away.

“Our village is growing, I am sure it will be a big town in the near future. My hope is that we will have tap water on each of our doorsteps by then. Because of Islamic Relief’s support, the lives of thousands of people have been positively impacted. I pray that this continues, because without water there is simply no life”, says Nuriya.

Global expertise, local ownership

Islamic Relief is empowering communities in Moyale to take ownership of the solar-powered water systems, which can grow into a small business that is managed and maintained by the community.

The project is helping to improve the position of girls in the community, as they no longer have to travel to fetch water and can now attend school in the hope of securing a brighter future. The tradition of girls fetching water is anchored in the culture of many countries and hopefully with innovative solutions such as the solar-powered water systems, this can become thing of the past.

These solutions are not only providing clean water, improving health and creating livelihoods, they are also helping to make communities self-reliant.

With your support Islamic Relief can continue to help communities on the frontline of the climate emergency: donate today.