In 2014, the Central African Republic’s main airport became the scene of one of the world’s largest refugee camps almost overnight. An estimated 100,000 people fleeing the violence set up camp along the runway. They had no running water, no toilets, and no food sources… in fact no services at all. The refugees had no choice but to walk miles outside the camp to fetch water from surrounding streams and unsanitary, hand-dug wells. Along with other organizations, Water for Good’s supporters rallied and we responded as best we could. We used our equipment and resources to dig 400 latrines, collect and dispose of tons of garbage to stabilize the sanitation situation, and build systems to provide emergency water access. Still, none of these were long-term solutions.
Above: Beginning work on the latrine construction at the airport refugee camp back in 2014.
The airport camp was never designed to be a long-term community (in fact it was never designed at all). Yet most of the refugees had no other options. Their homes had been burned. Their businesses were looted and destroyed. They needed a place to start over.
Please pray and consider a donation to #EndTheWalk for dirty water in Central Africa. Together we can save lives and provide hope for a
So in December of 2014, with the country still in the midst of conflict, Water for Good partnered with WHH, a German non-profit, on an experimental venture to build a viable neighborhood from scratch as a new home for the airport refugees.
Three miles west of the airport, on an empty plot of ground surrounded by high grass and fields of manioc, we drilled two new wells. These wells were key components to the success of the new economic center christened “Ngoulekpa” (ngoo-leck-pa), a combination of the words “water” and “antelope” in the Sango language. Throughout 2015, WHH oversaw construction of a new school, a covered marketplace, and a health clinic all centered around the two wells, and watched as the surrounding community grew.
Today, just a year after the project started, the area surrounding Ngoulekpa is home to thousands of former refugees who’ve chosen to build simple mud block and thatched roof houses. Our two wells are already working overtime to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for water.
Above left: Drilling one of two new wells in Ngoulekpa. Above Right: One of the old water sources for the area
We’ve drilled over 600 wells in the past decade for people who needed clean water. But this is the first time we’ve drilled the wells before the community was even there! Let’s call it a “pre-emptive” strike to #EndTheWalk for unsanitary water. Maybe more importantly, we recognize that a new water well can bring a measure of peace and hope to people who thought they’d been forgotten.
Above: Testing out the new well at Ngoulekpa just after completion.
Above: Early morning, a few people starting to setup shop in the new covered marketplace.
Above: Today, the two wells have been enclosed with a concrete fence to help keep the area sanitary.
Twenty-percent of the population of this country’s people are still displaced. Your support will #EndTheWalk for these refugees, in their OWN country. Please consider contributing to improve lives and show God’s love to the world’s most vulnerable people.
You may have noticed us using the hashtag #EndTheWalk. It’s our goal to end the walk to unsanitary water sources for every man, woman, and child in the Central African Republic. The people of Ngoulekpa are part of that story—for them, the walk is over! In 2016, we’ll be sharing more stories that highlight the people and places where your donations are ending the walk for dirty water, day after day, week after week, and year after year.