Our thoughts and prayers today go to the people of Mali. Working in the neighbouring countries of Senegal, Burkina Faso and Guinea Bissau we understand how national conflict can affect people living in these countries. We often come across local conflict where water is in short supply and the battle to access clean safe drinking water for themselves and their livestock can create great unease and tensions between villages all fighting to survive.
In Burkina Faso we were told how the local farmer took his livestock each day to the water point, but on one occasion one of his heard strayed onto the land of an arable farmer. This resulted in the herdsman having his animal confiscated until he could pay the fine to the landowner for his damaged crops. This in turn led to increased poverty for the herdsman, lost revenue for the farmer and increased conflict between the two men.
By providing accessible water to the herdsman the farmer will be able to grow his crops in peace and the herdsman can look after his animals without fear of them straying onto other peoples land. A simple remedy for a large problem.
Of course this is a minor issue compared to the troubles in Mali. We can only hope for the speedy end to hostilities.