AN ENVIRONMENT Agency worker has used her expertise to help provide cleaner water for residents in drought-hit Mozambique.

Emily Gordon, from Wallingford, has returned from a week in one of the poorest countries in the world where she witnessed how money she raised for WaterAid was making an impact in schools and communities.

The 30-year-old, who works as a hydrology technical officer for the EA, went on the life-changing trip last month to southern Africa, along with nine other staff from organisations in the water sector.

She visited WaterAid projects around the capital Maputo and the rural Boane district.

She also visited Tchonissa, where most people are forced to without access to clean water, surviving only on water they collect from a disease-ridden pond in a riverbed.

Ms Gordon recalled: "The water was horrific, it was murky with dead worms in it, and there were cows drinking and defecating in it nearby – I couldn’t believe my eyes.

"In this day and age people should not have to go through this suffering just to get water, which everyone is entitled to – it made me feel sad and angry.

"The good news is that WaterAid’s plans for this village included a solar-powered water pump which will bring fresh clean water very soon."

Ms Gordon also visited three schools, each at different stages of involvement with WaterAid.

She joined in with handwashing demonstrations, hygiene songs and saw the children performing plays about clean water and sanitation.

In Mavalane Primary School pupils now have access to safe water, new toilets, and are educated about the importance of hygiene.

Ms Gordon said: "Hygiene messages were painted all around the school."

The volunteer from Wallingford also helped to build a latrine for an elderly couple called Antonio and Cecilia.

She added: "For the first time ever, they no longer have to ask to use a neighbour’s toilet.

"From now on, this simple latrine will bring them dignity, privacy, safety and better sanitation.

"I’ve now seen for myself how WaterAid spends the money we raise in the UK, and I really believe that we can achieve safe water and sanitation for all by 2030."

Mozambique has a population of almost 27 million and diseases such as cholera and typhoid are rife due to contaminated drinking water sources.

A spokesman for WaterAid estimated that only 20 per cent of the population has adequate sanitation, and 13 million were without clean water, with 4,000 children under five dying every year in the country.

He added: "This year has seen particular hardship for many families due to the exceptionally severe drought.

"Many rural communities are surviving on a diet of boiled leaves.

"Water sources are drying up, and those that exist are stagnant, or salty and undrinkable."

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