NewsQuenching Thirst and Restoring Dignity: Providing access to water for displaced Afghans

STFA Story 4 photos 1 July 2024

In Woch Tangi, one of the largest returnees and internally displaced persons (IDP) settlements in Jalalabad City, access to clean drinking water has been a persistent and pressing issue. 

Home to about 5,000 families, this settlement has struggled with severe water scarcity, exacerbating the daily hardships of its residents, 90 percent of whom are IDPs from Pakistan.

Recognizing the urgent need for clean water, UN-Habitat, funded by the Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan (STFA) under the Joint Regional Programme, implemented a critical water project in Woch Tangi. This project included the construction of two water wells, a water tower, and a network powered by renewable energy—solar panels—that now provides reliable water access to more than 600 families, drastically improving their quality of life. The construction of the second well will be completed soon, increasing the total number of beneficiaries to 1,200.

STFA Story 4 photos 3 July 2024

Before the wells were constructed, the community faced extreme water shortages. One of the construction engineers shared a poignant memory: “During our construction work, we couldn’t even find water to wash our hands as nearby households had no water.” This dire situation highlighted the community's desperate need for a stable water supply.

Mr. Muslim, a community elder who now leads maintenance and oversight of the completed water well, recalls the struggles before the project: “We were not able to perform wudhu /prayer washes/ and were lucky if we got to take a bath once in two weeks. We had to travel 3-4 kilometers to fetch water and only had a little water for drinking. Now, we are very happy to have a stable water supply in our community.”

The new water wells have not only quenched the community’s thirst but also restored a sense of dignity. Reliable access to water means that families can now perform daily hygiene routines, maintain their health, and live without worry of having no water.

The impact of this project extends beyond just providing a water. It builds community resilience and well-being. Children can go to school clean and hydrated, people no longer need to spend hours fetching water from distant sources, and the overall health of the community has improved.

UN-Habitat’s water project, supported by STFA, is a strong example of how targeted interventions can transform lives. By addressing one of the most basic human needs, it has provided the residents of Woch Tangi with a foundation upon which to rebuild their lives and look forward to a better future.

STFA Story 4 photos 2 July 2024