Safe Access to Clean Water in Somalia

Clean Water is Only Half the Story for a Mother and her Children in Somalia

What does “safe water” mean to you? For most of us, it means water that won’t make us sick if we drink it. To many Somali women and their children that’s only half the story, since fetching water is as dangerous as drinking it when it’s contaminated.SomaliMotherChildWell

Mercy-USA believes that by helping rural and urban communities with the basic of life­—clean water, we can make positive contributions to the entire country’s steps toward stability and a resurgence of prosperity. Safe access to clean water improves the lives of an entire community but most of all, it improves the quality of life for women and girls, as the chore of fetching water falls on them in this traditional society.

The story of Ibada, a 38-year-old widow who lives  in Misra Xaraare an agricultural village in Middle Shebelle Region is one example of how safe access to clean water can help facilitate small steps toward a more educated and successful family despite great challenges.

Ibada and her children have a better chance for a successful life with the addition of a Mercy-USA well in their village. Her daughters now have time to study and Ibada doesn’t worry about them falling sick from contaminated water.


Ibada has three daughters and one son. She is the sole provider for her family with an income she earns from her vegetable stand in the area marketplace. When Mercy-USA built a well in Ibada’s village this spring she explained how the task of getting water would consume much of her or her eldest daughter’s day. The task wasn’t only time consuming, it was dangerous, “I remember several times when we had to walk to the river to get some water but we feared attacks from either men or even wild animals such as crocodiles.”

Clean water is life for a family in rural and urban areas, and it’s not a difficult problem to solve. As Ibada reminded us, “My daughter will now concentrate on her education. Many times I had to cut her studies short because water was a higher priority for us.” Now Ibada can improve her business, care for her younger children and make sure all her daughters get the education they need to do even more toward a healthy family and a thriving community. 


Well construction, conducted by Mercy-USA with funds provided by private donations, has changed the lives of tens of thousands in Somalia. A nearby well gives time and safety to women and gives their daughters the same opportunity existing for education that their sons enjoy.

According to UNICEF research, only a third of Somali families have access to clean drinking water. Since 1997, Mercy-USA has played a vital role in providing safe drinking water in Somalia, digging and repairing about 670 wells. Communities with a combined population of over 750,000 persons are benefiting from this safe water program.

There are many ways you can help sponsor the establishment of a well in Somalia:

  • Sponsor a well with a lump sum donation of $3,500 ($4,700 CAD) or spread out the payments over 12 or fewer months.
  • Enlist friends or family to join you in funding a well in the name of a loved one; your community; school; or youth group.
  • Your gift of any amount will go toward safe water for Somalia.

Your generous charitable gift supports Mercy-USA’s work to bring clean water to Somalia.