Improving access to water in Somaliland

In the remote arid district of Sool in eastern Somaliland, a reliable water source can provide a vital lifeline to communities dependent on livestock for their livelihoods.

In 2013 HALO cleared mines from the road to Caynaba, home to the only free water well for more than 50 kilometres. The well is now an essential source of water for people and livestock in the surrounding area, attracting huge numbers of herders and animals on a daily basis.

The road to Caynaba was mined during the war by the Somali National Movement in order to stem the tide of Somali National Army vehicles entering the area. It was the scene of several accidents in the aftermath of the conflict, resulting in the deaths of at least 10 camels.

Since HALO cleared the road as many as a thousand camels, sheep, goats and donkeys pass along the road in a single morning to take water from the well. At least 5,000 people have benefited from the improved access to the water, as well as other services such as Caynaba’s school, clinic, bank and market.

Clearing the road has also allowed people from the surrounding villages to transport water by hand or animal back to their communities. Previously, people had to rely on drivers willing to risk the mined road or take a lengthy diversion. A barrel of transported well water would cost around $2.5, but opening up the road to more traffic has seen the price drop to $1.5 a barrel; a substantial saving in a country where the per capita income is under $1.90 per day. The increase in traffic also provides more options for people seeking to transport livestock and produce to market. Now that the road is clear of mines residents benefit from improved access to the tarmac road that leads to Burao, which has the best available medical, educational and trading facilities in central Somaliland. With another stretch of the road still to be cleared, the completed road will link up Caynaba with the village of Waridiad, improving access to water and facilities for hundreds more families.