The DRC is a vast country with a population of 79 million people and with immense economic resources, however, it has suffered from decades of civil war and for the last 20 years has been a complex emergency situation. Instability in the region has led to widespread poverty, accompanied by violence which has divided communities and displaced families.
In response to a particularly fierce outburst of fighting in early 2018, the Scottish Government released money to help alleviate suffering and Tearfund was given a grant of £100,000 to provide clean and safe water to almost 45,000 people in Maniema who are at high risk of being affected by cholera outbreak.
Tearfund has been helping communities construct 10 drinking water points and has been training local community volunteers to manage them. In addition, Tearfund has distributed water kits to 6,195 households to enable them to treat their drinking water until the new water points are available.
Sarah Amisi, a mother of 6 children, was one of the people that benefited from the project. She explained that outbreaks of cholera due to lack of potable drinking water and sanitation services were common in her area. She said "There were no potected wells or springs in our community; my family and I would drink water from unprotected springs." Her children would often fall ill, suffering from diarrhea, and intestinal worms.
Lack of access to potable water did not just affect her family's health; it also affected her psychological well-being: "I felt as an abandoned woman, neglected by society and let down by life. On the one hand my husband was jobless, and so was I and add to this having no access to water. I lived in sadness and despair," she recalls.
Sarah described how Tearfund's intervention in Basoko, with funds from the Scottish Government, was both life-saving and life-altering for her and her family. She said "My children are no longer suffering from waterborne diseases and I no longer have to spend as much money on medical bills for the children." She sums up access to safe water as currently being her "greatest joy". She ended by saying: "My entire family is continuously grateful to God to have thought of them by building a water point in our community."