CRS Water Projects Make A Congressional Impression

Dear Friend,

I recently received a telephone call from a public official that made my day.

Rep. Jim McGovern, a congressman with a firm commitment to the fight against hunger and poverty, had just returned from a fact-finding trip to Kenya, Ethiopia and Chad. While in Ethiopia, he had visited a Catholic Relief Services water management project. He was impressed and wanted to share his enthusiasm with me.

Let me allow Rep. McGovern to give his impressions in his own words, taken from an article he wrote in his hometown newspaper, the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester, Mass.:

“In Legedini – a long and perilous jeep ride from Dire Dawa near the border of Somalia – I saw community efforts to protect the watershed and turn a virtual desert into a green area, where land can now produce enough to feed the people and with excess to sell at market. Incredible partnerships with USAID [the United States Agency for International Development], Catholic Relief Services and the local Catholic church have resulted in innovative water projects, nutrition programs and even ecological sanitation, where human waste fertilizes soil where it is difficult to grow anything.

“Clearly, the new approach to development in Ethiopia is slowly but surely working and deserves international support.”

The “new approach” Rep. McGovern refers to involves an integrated plan in which a modest investment can have a huge impact that transforms people's lives. We have provided the Ethiopian Catholic church with mobile rigs that drill boreholes, and we have helped them to build the systems that provide communities with a ready supply of clean water. The rigs aren't cheap, but they last for decades and the boreholes they'll drill will provide water for several million people in a country where less than 20 percent of people living in rural areas have ready access to clean, safe water.

We integrate these efforts to provide water – for drinking, washing and agriculture — with other concerns like sanitation, natural resources management, health programs, and HIV and AIDS prevention and care. We find that making these linkages has made our programs more effective and more sustainable.

And like Rep. McGovern, we believe these programs are slowly — but surely — making a difference.

Thank you for your continued support and your prayers.

Ken Hackett

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