Traditionally the women and young girls carry up to 20 to 30L of water on their backs in goatskins. This is a 2km round trip that takes place at least 6 times a day, even throughout a women's pregnancy. 



The nearest water source for the people of Yooren is from the Awash river, which lies approx 1km from the community. Traditionally the women and young girls carry up to 20 to 30L of water on their backs in goat skins. This chore takes place at least 6 times a day, even throughout a women's pregnancy. When using a water cart, a woman is reduced to only two trips a day to collect water from the river.

Through discussions with the community in late 2005 Barefoot Initiative came up with the idea to construct pilot water carts. Each cart was designed to be able to carry approximately 80 litres of water. We brought the women together to form a committee that would be responsible for the carts. The committee collect a minimal monthly fee from those community members who use the carts and this goes towards covering the cost of maintenance. The formation of the women's committee and the collection of a monthly fee has enabled this project to be self sustaining.

Over the years feedback received from the community, highlighted a need for more carts with a stronger and more sturdy design. The cart has been modified to a more solid and smaller vehicle that can carry approximately 50 Litres.

With an increased demand for the water cart, Barefoot Initiative commissioned and trained employees from a local garage over 3 consecutive years on how to make the water cart. Additionally we took women from the committee to the garage so that they new where to go for maintenance and if individuals wanted to save and purchase their own cart they now have a local supplier. 

With the introduction of the water carts, the men of the community now partake in collecting water for the household, thus breaking the traditional role in Afar society where in the past this chore has been seen solely as belonging to women and children.

After holding community meetings in 2014 and 2016 the community expressed that one water cart per three households would be ideal. With an estimated 546 households and 97 water carts that have already been distributed, this means that to reach this target we need a further 85 water carts. As of September 2018 Barefoot Initiative will be partnering with the Fullife Foundation who have committed to generously fund 100 new water carts to the Yooren community. This will allow us to meet our target and have 15 extra carts to distribute to households with people who have a disability. 

We are still raising funds for more water carts so that we can expand the distribution to surrounding communities where there is a high demand.  

If you would like to make a donation towards the Water Cart Project, please follow this link. All donations made to this project will see 100% of every dollar go directly to the community to pay for new water carts.


The water carts remain highly valuable to the community. Women without a water cart make 6 trips a day to collect water for their house hold, appose to only 2 trips a day for women who use a water cart. Women collect 5 ETB per month from those who use the carts for maintenance. 


You can support the women in the Afar community by making a contribution of your choice towards a water cart. 


If you reguire a gift card, stating your purchase, please state so in an email to us.

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