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Ali’s story

Ali’s story


Creating jobs through improved access to water in Nigeria

Accessing clean water

Water vendor|Boko Haram|Refurbishing waterholes


Being a water vendor in North-East Nigeria is not an easy job – made even harder when it becomes your occupation after leaving all your worldly possessions behind as you flee from violent Boko Haram fighters in your hometown.

Ali has had to do just that to make ends meet. Working as a water vendor he faced travelling long distances and buying expensive water just to support his family of seven.

Ali is one of the workers at a construction site at Gwenge III Primary School in the Gwenge host community – a small village home to many Nigerians who like Ali have been displaced by insecurity in their hometowns.

“I had no source of income when I left my home behind so I decided to start my own business as a water vendor,” Ali explains, “but the water collection point was very far away and every day I found it more and more difficult to provide for my family.”

North-East Nigeria has been the scene of violent conflict for the last few years, which has caused unprecedented population displacement across the country. Over 90% of those who have left their homes are now living in informal settlements and host communities like Gwenge, putting enormous pressure on social services and existing sanitary facilities.

With support from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), International Medical Corps is working in Gwenge Community to carry out water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) projects – including drilling and refurbishing waterholes - to make sanitation and clean water accessible to the conflict-affected population.

As part of the WASH activities International Medical Corps restored the water point at the construction site where Ali works and provided taps outside of the school to make clean water more accessible to community members.

Ali says it has helped his business a lot.

I am now able to collect clean water from here without travelling far and I have a stable income to support my family.

With funding from ECHO, International Medical Corps has been present in Nigeria since 2013 and remains active in Sokoto state in the North-West and in Borno state in the North-East, providing live-saving interventions to conflict-affected populations.

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