Photo of the week

A herder walks with sheep and goats to water. (Photo by Misty Richmond)

Walking for water (Part 2)…

Last week we posted a photo of two Maasai women carrying buckets of water from the local creek to their homes for domestic use. This week we present Part 2 of the water saga.  In the Ruaha area, as is the case with most pastoralist communities, herders escort their animals from their bomas (livestock pens) to water on a daily basis, sometimes several times per day depending on the season, distance to water and the heat.  As water sources dwindle due to climatic variability, these walks grow longer and more strenuous for the animals and their herders.  On many occasions, we have accompanied pastoralists on these walks, only to find the creeks dry and water quality so low that we had to dig into the creek beds to allow water to bubble to the surface for the animals.  In the dry season especially, wildlife, livestock and people congregate at these limited watering holes, which become ideal interfaces for exposure to zoonotic and waterborne pathogens. HALI’s disease education program has been working with pastoralist communities to better  understand the health risks associated with sharing water sources with animals, and have been very successful in increasing adoption rates of water treatment practices like boiling, UV radiation, and filtration.

Check out some of our research briefs on water quality and use in the Ruaha area for more information.

You can click on this link to read more about the video: why even water in containers at home, like the buckets carried by the Maasai women, may still be at risk for contamination with water-borne and zoonotic diseases.

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