Stories from Ethiopia: Chaltu Negero


Tucked away from the Addis Ababa – Nekemte highway is Kilfo, a beautiful and quiet village. Located in Toke Kombolcha Kebele in Toke Kutaye district, Kilfo is a village with countless rising and falling hills, and pastures spanning as far as the eye can see. In a region such as this, springs are a common occurrence; however the residents know that if there is no rain, there is no spring.

 The hills surrounding Kilfo. Image by WaterAid/ Behailu Shiferaw. 

The hills surrounding Kilfo. Image by WaterAid/ Behailu Shiferaw. 

Chaltu Negero, 55, has lived here for 37 years, and knows the problems first hand. She says: 

“During the rainy season we don’t need to go to the river as we harvest the rain water. When we hear the rain splattering on the roof, we run out to position our barrels to store as much rainwater from the roof as we can. But during the summer, the rain stops, the few springs that exist dry out with it and we resort to the river water again.”
“When I fetch the water I see how turbid it is. I know it is polluted from upstream villages. I know cattle walk in it. I know people wash their clothes in it. I know how unclean it is. But what choice do I have? I feel really bad giving such unclean water to my children. I have no choice.”
  Chaltu Negero, 55, has lived in this area for 37 years. Image by WaterAid/ Behailu Shiferaw.

 Chaltu Negero, 55, has lived in this area for 37 years. Image by WaterAid/ Behailu Shiferaw.

With help from donations from Project Waterfall and WaterAid, far away springs in high altitude areas will be tapped and channel the water through long-stretched pipe-work to the centre of this village using gravity. This will mean that Chaltu’s children will not get sick from the river water, and will be able to study and stay in school, growing up healthier and happier than ever before.

 Chaltu and part of her family. Gobena, 12, Mihiretie, 10  and Yohannes, 3. Image by WaterAid/Behailu Shiferaw.

Chaltu and part of her family. Gobena, 12, Mihiretie, 10  and Yohannes, 3. Image by WaterAid/Behailu Shiferaw.



You can help this cause by getting involved in initiatives such as UK Coffee Week, or through events such as Coffee Music Project or Coffee Art Project.  Use these opportunities to give back to communities who lack what we can easily take for granted every day.