In Nigeria, a solar-powered water well helps build a peaceful community

Nigeria |2023| CBPF

Nigeria, Adamawa state. Daware town has long been a refuge for people fleeing Boko Haram in neighboring Borno state. After over a decade, about 3,300 displaced people live in the informal camp here.

The villages and towns in this area are easily flooded, causing recurrent displacement and spreading disease from contaminated water.

The lack of clean water and free grazing land drives deep tensions between the displaced community and local herding communities. An older solar-powered borehole – a groundwater well – broke down five years ago and has not been repaired.

Local herders were letting their animals graze on the IDPs’ crop land, and tensions simmered, driving theft and violence. The flooding in 2022 made things even worse, increasing IDP numbers: and the water supply for everyone was insufficient and dirty.

With funding from the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund, Caritas Nigeria reconstructed the borehole with a solar-powered mechanism. And they trained mechanics in the town to maintain and repair it.

Everyone benefits.

The repaired well brought other developments. Herder leaders visited the IDP community to thank them for their help in the rehabilitation.

One evening the herders visited the IDP camp secretary, Umaru Bappa, and requested an immediate meeting. Mr. Bappa was worried: was this news of another clash, a case of animal poisoning, or violence between their communities?

Mr. Bappa summoned the courage to come out of his house, yelling, “What do you want?”

“We come in peace,” yelled back the herder leaders. “We came to thank you for bringing us water again, even after we sold ten cows and still couldn’t fix it. We know you are the person that brought those good men* from the city in white pick-up trucks!” (*referring to Caritas Nigeria staff.)

‘’The men have fixed our water and our cattle are even better than before. That’s why we are here,’’ explained the herder leaders, promising Mr. Bappa that in future they would not allow their cattle to graze on the IDP farms.

Now relaxed, Mr. Bappa smiled and said, “You are welcome, my people. We are all one people. I appreciate you too.’’

More information on the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund: