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Providing Clean Water on the Blue Planet

Earth is the water planet. Seen from space, its extensive blue oceans, rivers, and lakes give Earth its second name—the blue planet.

From space, it’s beautiful.

From the home of a poor African family, it’s another story. Almost half of the people on earth without access to safe water live in Africa.

That’s 355 million people who can’t get a clean drink of water, take a shower, or use a toilet.

For African infants, unclean water is often a death sentence—one in five dies before the age of five, usually from diarrhea caused by dirty water. Diarrhea kills more children than malaria, AIDS, and measles combined.

In rural Africa, children usually gather daily water for the home.

For school-age children, no access to water often means they can’t attend or drop out of school. In Africa, it is usually children, sometimes with their mothers, who gather daily water for the home. Walking to the nearest river can take hours, which means they cannot reach school on time. Girls who manage to attend school often drop out when they reach puberty because of a lack of water and latrines.

Every March 22, led by the United Nations, we call attention to our blue planet’s water crisis. And we are reminded of the “haves” and “have nots.”

Aid for Africa and its members are working with our partners in Sub Saharan Africa to turn the “have nots” into the “haves.” Here are some ways we are doing this:

  • Working with communities and schools in more than a dozen African countries to provide fresh-water wells and sanitation facilities. In 2013, six Aid for Africa members and their African partners helped more than 1.1 million people gain access to clean water through more than 4,000 wells and water systems.
  • Monitoring water projects long after they are installed to ensure they continue to provide fresh water. This usually involves training locals on the ground to make a project sustainable. One review of wells in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Mozambique found that on average almost 92 percent of the wells were still functioning.
  • Providing latrines and sanitation for students at schools. It takes more than books and teachers to provide an education. If students don’t have access to latrines and clean water for hand washing, learning is compromised.
  • Helping families pasteurize water using solar cookers.
    amilies to cook food and pasteurize water using the sun’s energy. Since 1987, our humanitarian and development assistance projects have improved the lives of thousands of families. While our work is global, we have focused on Africa, working in Kenya, Ethiopia, Chad, and Zimbabwe. – See more at: https://www.aidforafrica.org/member-charities/solar-cookers-international/#sthash.H17jxsru.dpuf

On World Water Day, take a moment to learn more. Here are some of our members working with our African neighbors so they too can get a clean drink of water, take a shower, and use a toilet.

A Glimmer of Hope Foundation
Asante Africa Foundation
charity: water
ChildVoice International
H2O for Life
Solar Cookers International
Medicine for Mali
World Hope International

What You Can Do: