Aug. 2014—The villages tucked into the hills outside the town of Malishevë/o in central Kosovo are like many in the landlocked country—difficult to access by road—but many who live there prefer the quiet agrarian life to the faster pace of the country’s bigger cities.
However, like many others, the villages of Bubël, Qupeva and Domanek struggled to find a reliable source of drinking water, with residents traveling two kilometers to stand in line for the nearest regulated water source. Only 61 percent of Kosovo’s citizens have regular access to potable water.
“Over the years, my family spent 50,000 euros collectively to try to dig our own wells,” said Bubël resident and farmer Ahmet Rrahmanaj. “My family has always lived in Bubël, but we considered having to move to a bigger city in order to get fresh water.”
Bubël was one of 60 communities across Kosovo identified by USAID’s Small Infrastructure for Water and Sanitation project to install, rehabilitate, expand and upgrade local water systems. The program worked with regional water companies and local government officials, and held over 220 community outreach meetings throughout the life of the project to ensure that the systems had the maximum effect in each village where they were installed.
Rrahmanaj was actively engaged in the outreach efforts, volunteering his time to recruit fellow residents for community meetings and assisting program specialists in instructing village residents on proper use and upkeep of the pipes and taps installed in their homes.
“USAID is a very important name here. Thanks to their professionalism and community cooperation, we were able to finally overcome the difficult conditions to put this system in place,” Rrahmanaj added.
As a result of the six-year program, over 160,000 Kosovo residents like the Rrahmanaj family now have access to clean, safe drinking water.
“For us now, life is much easier,” said Rrahmanaj.
The Kosovo Small Infrastructure for Water and Sanitation initiative, which ran from 2008 to 2014, was funded jointly by USAID, the Swiss Government, and local Kosovo government and water authorities.
Last updated: August 14, 2015