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When water is available in Darfur, use it wisely

One can only be happy with the initiative to tackle the water shortage in the Darfur region of Sudan by drilling wells to tap underground lakes (see Sudan to launch '1,000 Wells for Darfur'). Let us hope that many organisations and donors will contribute to the success of the project for the wellbeing of the rural poor in the Darfur region.

More water is crucial for the improvement of so many aspects of these people's lives. Nevertheless, once the water is available, one should also consider the necessity of using the water to the highest efficiency.

I recommend looking into the possibility of creating numerous small-scale family and school gardens (25–35 square metres) for Darfur, like the ones constructed for the UNICEF project 'Family gardens in the refugee camps of the Sahrawis in south west Algeria'.

The remarkable success of this UNICEF project shows that a small volume of available water can be used very efficiently to produce vegetables and fruit trees for each family and school.

These gardens make a valuable contribution to food security and public health and improve the standards of living of vulnerable rural people, in particular poor children and people living in refugee camps all over the world.

I hope the people of Darfur could get the same opportunity.