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The Challenge of Providing Clean Water in Rural Africa

Every two years the World Health Organization takes a look at access to improved drinking water around the world.  The good news is that an additional 2 billion people gained access to improved water between 1990 and 2010, including 273 million in Sub Saharan Africa.  The bad news is that some 780 million people have seen no improvement to their water supplies.  While there was progress in most regions of the world, Sub Saharan Africa lagged behind.  This is particularly true in rural areas where almost 20 percent of the people still use surface water—rivers, lakes, ponds, and irrigation channels—for drinking and cooking. 

The absence of clean water affects everyone, but children suffer the most.  Contaminated water leads to water-borne disease and death, particularly for children under the age of five. Older children often can’t attend school because they are burdened with collecting water from sources far from their homes.  On World Water Day, March 22, we highlight some of Aid for Africa members working to change this. 

 Charity: water has made safe water accessible for more than 1 million people in Sub Saharan Africa. Through its well projects, World Hope International has helped more than a half million people gain access to clean water. H2O for Life which teams US schools with schools in Africa, has brought clean water and sanitation to schools in eight Sub Saharan African countries.   A Glimmer of Hope Foundation has funded more than 2,000 water projects in Ethiopia alone, where more than half of Ethiopia’s 75 million people suffer from water-related disease.

Want to read the full study?  Click here.