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World Water Day: Spotlight on Saving Lives with Safe Drinking Water

On March 22, World Water Day, Aid for Africa asks you to remember that there are 1.1 billion people in the world who lack access to safe drinking water – one-third of whom live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Unsafe drinking water kills 6,000 people – mostly children – each day and causes more deaths annually than war and other acts of violence. Designated by the United Nations in 1992, the day seeks to raise awareness and advance solutions to ending this worldwide epidemic.

Several Aid for Africa members are meeting this challenge head on. Since 2007, charity: water has raised $20 million and funded 3,196 water projects world-wide, most in Sub-Saharan Africa. One-third of their projects are in Ethiopia, where they partner with Aid for Africa member A Glimmer of Hope Foundation. Together, they drill wells that enable women and children to access clean drinking water right in their own communities. The alternative is often walking up to three hours each day, sometimes risking their safety, to retrieve disease-ridden water from open pits by hand. Community wells improve health, they allow children to attend school and women to do other productive work. charity: water estimates that for every dollar invested in water, about $12 can be expected in economic return. Today, three times as many Ethiopians enjoy access to clean drinking water than they did ten years ago.

In a remote corner of Mali, Medicine for Mali is providing clean drinking water taps to 8,000 villagers using solar powered pumps. World Hope International has drilled over 600 wells in five African countries to sustain animals and crops during periods of drought. And at The Earth Institute at Columbia University, researchers are developing solutions for water conservation in the agricultural sector.

Want to learn more about the crisis of unsafe drinking water in Sub-Saharan Africa and what charity: water is doing to end it? Watch this amazing video.