Only a well was missing, to make the celebration complete.

In writing this newsletter, I discover that today, Friday the 22nd of March 2013, is World Water Day. A happy coincidence! I was just going to tell you about what happened to the pastoralists at a camp in the Bulkiemdé province, where the lack of water is excruciating.

Logo Journée internationale de l'eau 2013L'eau et le mondeIn order to better understand the event, we have to go back a few months. I was chatting with the owner of a dairy shop, ”Le Lait du Bulkiemdé”. She told me that, as the products she sells (pasteurised milk, yoghurt …) were becoming increasingly popular, milk supplies had become insufficient. We went through the list of pastoralists delivering milk to her shop.

We stopped at the name of a camp in the Doulgou village, which already sent her dairy 10 litres of fresh milk a day for 4 or 5 months a year. We became convinced that the owners at this camp would be able to produce much more. We set out to go and see them.

The women at the camp - who are the ”owners” of milk production, which provides them with an income to feed their family - told us that they would like to deliver more, but that from the month of March there was a lack of water and their cows had to migrate to other pastures. Moreover, during the rainy season, starting in July, there is a small creek (with water during the rainfall season only) that stops them from crossing and getting in to the town of Koudougou.

We discussed at length and decided to set up a partnership with the dairy shop (with the help of SEDELAN and its benefactors!) The dairy shop was going to contribute by giving them better feed for calves and lactating cows. For the calves local soy meal would be used, adding water, sugar and vitamins and a footbridge would be built. In exchange the women undertook to deliver more than half of their milk supply.

Quelques femmes peules traversent la passerelles avec leurs callebassesVue de la passerelle Very quickly the village women started delivering 30 litres a day to the dairy shop. Since someone had promised a well, we set about to build the footbridge (thanks to donations by a few SEDELAN friends). ’thus, on March 10th we were able to inaugurate the bridge. The cattle farmers, villagers and delegates from the Koudougou City Council were present. Everybody was happy with the bridge. However, to make the celebration complete, one feature was missing: the well!

In fact, due to the shortage of water, all the lactating cows were about to be taken to other pastures the following days. Indeed, we ought to have started with the well, more important and urgent than the bridge. … Someone had made a promise, but …!

In turn, I myself publicly made a promise: ”In a year we will get together here again to inaugurate a well, which will make life easier for herders and allow lactating cows and cows in calf to stay here instead of migrating”! This time I am confident, I know whom to turn to in order to fulfil the promise !”

Today, on World Water Day, a day of cooperation on water issues, I am happy to report this event to you.

Paris March 22, 2013
Maurice Oudet
Director, SEDELAN

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