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A solar-powered dream in Yemen

26 June 2023, Impact of Our Work, Climate

Clean energy brings clean water to transform the life of a young Yemeni student

In a remote mountainous village in Taiz, Yemen, a determined 14-year-old named Salwa* faced daily challenges that hindered her education and jeopardised her health. Like many others in her community, she had to fetch water from a distant well, endangering herself on the road and risking illness from the contaminated water. However, thanks to Save the Children’s incredible supporter community, Salwa's life has been transformed, and her dreams of becoming a doctor are now within reach.

A life changed by clean water

Collecting water was a daunting task for Salwa. 

“We used to fetch water from a faraway area, which caused us to be late for school and miss our lessons. Many times, we had terrible accidents on the road facing risks from motorcycles or cars. The water we collected wasn't clean and it was contaminated with worms and illnesses. It had dirt in it and some wells had salts. We had no time to rest, study, or sit with our family. The water jerrycan was very heavy and I used to carry a 15-litre jerrycan for a long distance. Sometimes, I’d neglect my lessons, skip school, and get sick, and my brothers were suffering the same too.”

It seemed like an endless cycle of hardship, but everything changed when a solar-powered water system was installed in her village. 

No longer burdened with the arduous chore of fetching water, Salwa now has water available in her own house. As a result, she no longer misses school. 

Salwa’s classroom, which is now supported by Save the Children’s solar power water project. 

Now things are different, and water is available in our house. The water project exists, and it brings water up to our house, and this year I was able to study and I was among the top students.


Yemen's water crisis

Yemen faces a severe water crisis, with millions of people lacking access to safe water and adequate sanitation services. The Taiz governorate, where Salwa's village is located, is one of the most affected areas. Economic fragility, fuel shortages, and population growth have exacerbated the situation, making it difficult for communities to sustain basic services.

The solar-powered water system that was installed in a mountainous, remote village in Taiz,
Yemen to give residents access to clean, safe water.

Recognising the urgent need, Save the Children provided support to the community to help make the solar-powered water project in Taiz possible. The project aimed to enhance community resilience by rehabilitating and protecting the water supply system, ensuring sustainability and independence. Thanks to our generous supporters, Save the Children was able to provide financial assistance, equipment, and training to enable the successful implementation of the project.

Sustainable transformation

The solar-powered water project implemented by Save the Children brought about profound changes for Salwa and her community. It was designed with a diversity of elements to ensure long-term impact and sustainability. An Environmental Impact Assessment was conducted to mitigate any negative effects on the environment, and a supply versus demand analysis ensured the safe replenishment of the water source.

Students can now wash their hands in the solar-powered clean water at school.

One key aspect of the project was the formation of the Water Management Committee. Comprising both men and women, the committee received training in maintaining and operating the water supply system, including environmental and financial aspects. The participation of local women from the beginning of the project was a key part of ensuring it would fulfil the needs of the whole community, as collecting water often falls to women and girls.

Walking alongside communities 

Save the Children's work in Yemen extends beyond providing clean water. By working with communities to manage their water supply independently, Save the Children ensures the long-term sustainability of the projects. Through collaborations, environmental assessments, and inclusive participation, Save the Children has become a source of strength for communities in the most challenging environments, enabling them to break free from the cycle of poverty and open up a world of possibilities.

“We can stay inside the house now, and we no longer need to leave at dawn to fetch water and sometimes skip school. It's such a relief that water is available in the school, so we can drink and use the bathroom. I love going to school because I have ambitions, and I wish to be a doctor.”

*Name changed to protect identity.

Photos: Al-Baraa Mansoor / Save the Children.

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