New Schools and Water Wells are Making Life Better in Gondar, Ethiopia

Manlio Dell’Ariccia

Just returned from a field visit to Ethiopia, JDC Country Director Manlio Dell’Ariccia reports that he was struck by the fundamental improvement in the quality of life that JDC’s newly built rural schools and clean water wells have brought to those living in remote villages in the Gondar region.

“It is quite challenging to put into words the feeling arising from my visit to a newly completed school in a rural village,” he writes. An outside observer might find the scene unremarkable, but only because he would not realize that the students he saw sitting at proper desks in a regular classroom had been studying until recently under a tree—using stones found on the ground as makeshift desks.

“The same applies to village women who can now fill up their household water cans with clean, non-contaminated water simply by operating a manual pump,” continues Manlio.  It seems so normal, he says, but only “if we forget that they used to have to walk miles each day to collect—and carry—water from a source they shared with the cattle.”

To Manlio, the smiles he sees on kids’ faces and the assistance provided to women for whom collecting water has been a daily burden are evidence of the positive and immediate impact that JDC’s rural development projects are having on the daily life of villagers in Ethiopia’s Gondar region.

Without a doubt, writes Manlio, these new rural schools are helping to “provide students with a better education and therefore with the perspective of a better future,” and the water well project is “alleviating the physical effort for village women and drastically diminishing health hazards.”

For more information on JDC programs in Ethiopia, visit:

A senior JDC professional, Manlio Dell’Ariccia has been JDC’s Country Director for Ethiopia since 1984.



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