FREO Switzerland supports the work of the Swiss Red Cross in Nepal
The Swiss Red Cross works tirelessly to improve water supplies and hygiene everywhere in the world. The organisation is dependent on donations for its work.
748 million people still have no access to clean water and 2.5 billion have no sanitary facilities. Nepal, a country of almost 28 million people, is one of the world’s poorest countries and is ranked 157th in the United Nations’ Human Development Index. Clean water is not available for everyone in Nepal and in some valleys water can only be found at depths of 100 metres.
Somewhere in the world a child dies every 20 seconds from the effects of an illness caused by contaminated water and inadequate hygiene. The projects involving water in Nepal form part of a lengthy commitment by the Swiss Red Cross.
FREO’s donation of CHF 50,000 will finance the construction of a water tower which will make it possible for about 1,000 people to have clean water all year round. Bernd Hofer, CEO of FREO Switzerland, explained “We have a great respect for the work of the Swiss Red Cross and are delighted to be able to make a contribution. What impressed us so much with the water tower project was that so many people could be permanently helped by the tower”.
Bore holes up to 100 metres deep are drilled for the water towers which are then filled by ground water pumped to the top of the towers by a pump system. The water is piped from the tower to the various taps in the village. Direct access to clean water saves the women and girls (who are normally responsible for fetching water) from having to trek for up to five hours each day for water. The girls can therefore spend longer at school and the women have more time and energy to devote to tasks such as looking after children or cultivating vegetables.
The water towers are constructed from local materials by local partners under contract to the Swiss Red Cross under the supervision of hydraulic engineers and local technical staff. The village defines where the towers are to be located and donates the land. The financial contribution to be made by the village as well as the contribution it will make in the form of work and materials is fixed before the project starts. The quality of the water is regularly checked after construction is complete and a team consisting of a supervisor who is paid for his services and a trained volunteer is responsible for maintenance. The families who benefit from the tower pay up to CHF 150 to have the water pipes installed.
“The long-term improvement of the living conditions of the inhabitants of the remote valleys is central to our work. Access to clean water not only avoids diarrhoea-related diseases but also improves general hygiene, leads to improved levels of overall health and reduces secondary disorders caused by carrying heavy objects” stated Ursula Schmid, Swiss Red Cross Programme Manager for Nepal.
The Swiss Red Cross finances very many water projects across the world. Every donation is welcome.