Project Title: Restoration of Garden Wells for the Bedouin of South Sinai, Egypt
Region: South Sinai Mountains of St Katherine’s, Egypt
Project Time: June 2007 ongoing
Project Budget: £65,000 annually for well restoration
Well Cost: £1300 for 1 well (relief of poverty for 50 – 150 individuals) Donations of amounts up to £1300 will be amalgamated to the required amount.
The Makhad Trust is a Not For Profit organisation, a British Registered Charity No 1100377 (since 1993). In 2005 it became registered as an Egyptian Foreign NGO.
The Makhad Trust sets up projects with vulnerable nomadic communities to assist their economic and social wellbeing while ensuring the protection of their environment and culture. All projects are based on long term independent sustainable development.
Successful completed projects include the construction of a Craft Centre for a Bedouin women’s co-operative, the restoration of a herbal garden and school for a renowned Bedouin herbal doctor for the conservation of knowledge of medicinal plant growing and use, and the construction of a school for the desert Bedouin of Nawamis.
About this Project
This project began in 2007 and aims to restore Bedouin orchard and garden wells and Community drinking wells. The water table in the area has been depleted due to the tourist industry on the coast and the change in climate. This has meant that the Bedouin wells are not deep enough or have been fatally damaged by unusually violent floods, so they no longer hold water.
- Drinking Water: There is no provision of drinking water for any of the people in South Sinai by the Egyptian authorities as the tanker water trucked in which has to be paid for has too many salts and cannot be drunk by people or animals. The people have therefore to rely on the few of the old Bedouin wells that still hold water. Each well will supply between 15-30 families and their goats and camels per day, and these are running out.
- Orchard & Garden Water: The Bedouin have traditionally relied on the grazing of goats and the growing of fruit trees and vegetables to support themselves. Each garden has its own well, but with no water the families cannot support themselves or feed their children. The earth is mineral rich but, with no well water, the soil is dry. Each watered garden could support several families of 6-10 people per family.
3. Why the Bedouin cannot help themselves: The Bedouin of South Sinai are a very poor community who have been marginalised by the Egyptian authorities. Many professions are forbidden to them and they have had to rely on an uncertain tourist industry which has collapsed due to recent events and the political climate. With practically no paid work and no money, the people cannot repair their own wells which require skilled paid workmen and other expenses such as cement and transport.
- Main Result of assistance for the wells: The main result of giving assistance to the wells is that the Bedouin people can retain their independence and are in a position to help themselves to survive. As more wells and gardens are restored the possibility of the whole community becoming self sustaining for food can become a reality.
How the Project Works
Following a request from an owner and an assessment of the well made by the Project Manager, Helen Cranston and our Sinai Manager, Mahmoud Ahmed, the well is paid the restoration money in two halves to enable him to start the work on his well including flood prevention measures. The owner signs a contract which commits him to lawful use of his water and careful inspections are made by the Project Manager 3-4 times during the progress of the work which ensures there is no corruption possible.
The small stone dams are constructed by our volunteer groups from the UK working with Bedouin labour and by agreement with the St Katherines National Parks organisation to help fill the water table during the infrequent rain or snow falls.
Since the start, this project has been managed by our Project Manager, Susie and now Helen, working both in UK and the Sinai along with Mahmoud in Sinai. Annual inspections evaluate well use and improvements in the orchards and gardens and offer encouragement. We have a 90% success rate because with restored water the family is able to care for their families. Reports, photographs and all costs are kept at all stages.
The Project’s Main Achievements
- Since the project began in July 2007 we have restored 370 wells (190 garden wells and 180 community wells). Some of the small garden wells also supply drinking water for neighbours.
- We have built 19 small stone dams to preserve the scarce rainfall.
- Orchards which were abandoned or struggling have been restored to productivity. The produce helps to feed a family of at least 8 people.
- Clean drinking water is made available and the people can use the water also for grazing their animals which helps to sustain them.
- Each contract will generally give employment to 6-7 Bedouin men for possibly 20-30 days giving them much needed cash which will be sufficient to feed a family for several months.
- Knowledge of garden horticulture is preserved
- Nearly 200 gardens are now flourishing bringing food and better health to many families.
- Extra produce is sold locally, one of the few ways of earning cash to pay for school and medical bills.
- Where we help the gardens and perform regular inspections drug growing cannot move in
- Friendship, knowledge and understanding is created between nationalities.
Funds are raised through individual, group or Trust Sponsorship. We also raise funds through the sale of Bedouin women’s handicrafts.
Makhad Trust Finances – Year ended 28 Oct 2016
Income – £69,143
Expenditure – £65,203
The Project began in 2007 and we aim to complete the project in 2025. We aim to complete 50 wells a year, but do not start a contract until the funds are in hand for that particular well. The need for help now is greater than it has ever been due to extensive flood damage over the last 3 years. There are over 400 names on the waiting list for help and the Bedouin beg us to continue with the work.
Budget for Each Well Repair
Overheads for this project cover UK office costs and the UK manager’s travel costs to and from Sinai and during site inspections.
Ground Costs on each Well include our Bedouin Manager’s salary, labour payment to builders/well diggers, and labourers plus camel transport of materials, cement, water, works tools and food for workers.
|Item||Ground Costs||Overheads||Unit Cost||Quantity||Total Costs|
What £1,300 will provide
£1300 will enable us to restore a well for up to 50 people depending on well use.
About the Jebelia Bedouin
Although we do work with 3 tribes, most of our wells are owned by the Jebelia “mountain” Bedouin. They are gentle, proud independent and hospitable people, always extremely grateful for the help they receive.