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Give water, give life

Africa has the largest number of water-stressed countries on the planet. It is generally estimated that of the 800 million people who live in Africa, 300 million live in a water stressed environment.

According to findings presented at the 2012 Conference on Water Scarcity in Africa: Issues and Challenges, it is estimated that by 2030, 75 million to 250 million people in Africa will be living in areas of high water stress, which will likely displace anywhere between 24 million and 700 million people as conditions become increasingly unlivable.

Achieving the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people without access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015 does not appear possible, especially when one takes into account countries like Ethiopia where only 27 percent of Ethiopians have access to safe drinking water, and only 10 percent have access to sanitation facilities.

Access to water supply and sanitation in Ethiopia is among the lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa and the entire world. The lack of water forces people  to turn to unsafe water resources and the storing of water within the household, which increases the risk of household water contamination. And this very often, leads to the spread of waterborne diseases like malaria, dysentery and diarrhea.

Water projects in Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, diarrhea accounts for nearly 1.3 million deaths a year among children under five years of age, making them the second most common cause of child deaths worldwide. More than half of the deaths occur in just five countries worldwide, of which Ethiopia is one.

Because of this overwhelming need, Habitat for Humanity Ethiopia has responded with a strong focus on water and sanitation, as part of other its regular shelter programs.

At present, they are addressing this need by improving water infrastructure with pipelines from the water source to public water points, providing public latrines and providing hygiene education, all of which have the goal of reducing diarrheal diseases.

Habitat Ethiopia demonstrated its commitment to improving the lives of families by exceeding its water , sanitation and health (WASH) target of 872 families for the fiscal year 2013 in the first quarter of that year, serving 1820 families by year end. Now Habitat Ethiopia is eagerly looking into ways to integrate a full WASH program full water and sanitation program to benefit entire communities and individual families.