World Water Day 2024: ‘Water for Peace’ and Our Efforts in Ethiopia to Repair Wells Amidst Drought and Conflict

Thursday, March 21, 2024

World Water Day 2024: ‘Water for Peace’ and Our Efforts in Ethiopia to Repair Wells Amidst Drought and Conflict

Thursday, March 21, 2024

This year, the theme for the United Nations’ World Water Day campaign is “Water for Peace,” which focuses on the critical role water plays in the stability and prosperity of the world.

As the UN notes, “When water is scarce or polluted, or when people have unequal or no access, tensions can rise between communities and countries.”

At Bread and Water for Africa®, in 2023 we worked in 6 countries supporting clean water projects in  the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi,  Tanzania, Uganda, and  Zambia,  completing 54 projects including the repairing of 24 wells in Ethiopia alone.

For us, the issue simple and straightforward – a lack of funds in the rural regions of these impoverished countries is causing millions to risk their health and very lives, every time they take a drink of water from an unsafe source – and thanks to our supporters across the U.S. we are able to make a life-changing difference in the lives of tens of thousands each year.

That’s why for the past 36 years we have lived up to our name by protecting underground spring sites from human and livestock contamination, digging wells, and drilling deep water boreholes, and on this World Water Day, Friday, March 22, our immediate mission is to help repair and rehabilitate 17 hand-dug wells in two Ethiopian woredas (administrative districts) Libo-Kemkem and Guna-Begemder in the Amhara region.

While, of course, access to clean water is vitally important everywhere, but particularly in the persistent “drought-affected areas of the Amhara region where more than 250,000 children are suffering from “emergency food shortages,” according to a report earlier this year by the Amhara Public Health Institute, which has led to the displacement of thousands of people who are seeking water and food.

And on February 19, 2024, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (known as UNICEF) announced that 10.8 million children throughout Ethiopia, “impacted by drought, conflict and disease epidemics, are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in 2024,” the Addis Standard reported.

Many of the wells in the region are currently nonfunctional due to a lack of maintenance, deterioration and damage to parts of the hand pumps, requiring residents struggling to survive in the region must walk nearly two miles to access clean drinking water.

Major repairs and rehabilitation activities to restore the wells to service include: remove of old and damaged hand pumps and inner accessories to investigate and identify problematic parts of the well pump; checking the water level to determine if more riser pipe is needed; using compressed air to remove dirt and clay materials (rehabilitation); replace damaged pump parts and other accessories; and finally clean and disinfect (water treatment) the rehabilitated wells.

In addition, in order to prevent the wells from going back into disrepair, for each project two local youth will be trained with basic technical skills in well servicing, hand pump installation and operation, periodic servicing, the removal and replacement of damaged well parts and as well as troubleshooting.

“The training of local youth will ensure sustainable use and operation of the repaired wells,” stated our Ethiopian partner who will be conducting the well rehabilitation, New Dimension Water Well Drilling, ensuring their long-time operation.

At Bread and Water for Africa®, we endorse the principles of UN’s World Water Day which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, “Water resources are precious and finite. World Water Day highlights the essential role water plays in our lives and how we can better protect it.”

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