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NEWS & EVENTS

16 June 2014 - The Magi 4 Afrika Challenge
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 Magi 4 Afrika - The African Water Crisis
   
In the twenty-first century, more than one billion people worldwide do not have access to any safe, clean water.  Around 370 million of these people live in sub-Saharan Africa; that's almost exactly half the population of Europe (2011 - 738 million).  
   
Perhaps the greatest indictment of the modern world is that
one in eight of our brothers and sisters have no clean, safe drinking water
   
The statistics are shocking and, they will doubtless shock.  Of course, Magi 4 Afrika will not even begin to address the problem; but, together, we can help ease the plight of one disadvantaged  community.  If we reach our Magi 4 Afrika target, this alone will provide clean water for over 2,500 Ethiopians.
   
Media and political coverage tells us about agriculture, education, malnutrition and poverty in Africa.  But, there is little co-ordinated, concerted action about water; how can agriculture, education, malnutrition and poverty be improved without water?
   
In Ethiopia, an estimated 78% of the population is without a clean, safe water supply
instead, being forced to drink from polluted rivers, streams, lakes and, even puddles;
the same water sources where animals defecate
   

The health risks of drinking from an unprotected water source are often severe, with a high incidence of illnesses such as bronchitis, tonsillitis, diarrhoea, vomiting, eye and respiratory infections and malaria.  The mortality rate from unclean water is devastatingly high.  The images, left to right, show; Weybla village where 250 Ethiopians drink from dirty water sources; Almaz and Zekiros collecting contaminated water at Gura Ferda; Dodo beneficiaries helping with construction of a new safe water facility.

   
 Weybla Village  Almaz and Zekiros in Gura Ferda Dodo Beneficiaries 
   

Even collecting contaminated water may involve Ethiopians trekking for hours each day.  This role is traditionally carried out by women and children, meaning that children often miss out on education and women face the risk of rape in rural areas.

What makes the situation more frustrating is that Ethiopia is often referred to as the “green drought” because the landscape is not a parched brown colour.  Clean water can sometimes be found just a few metres below ground but, even if the locals dig, the risk of contamination remains.  The solution is often simple, by working with the locals to construct a well.  The water source is isolated, protected and has small amounts of chlorine added so that clean water can be pumped to the ground usually using a hand-pump.  In other situations a spring is found and this is capped and protected so that fresh clean water can be provided.

As one aid worker explains, "access to clean water will greatly improve not only the health of both people and animals, but it will be a huge boost to the local economy in many ways.  Healthy workers and livestock allow people to meet their earning potential."

   
"There is no other single project that could have a more positive impact 
on the lives of people than clean, safe drinking water"
 
   

64% of sub-Saharan households rely on women to gather the family's water; this often involves a trek of many miles.  Young girls, especially, bear the burden of walking miles to collect unsafe water, thereby missing their studies; women are at risk of rape in rural areas.

Less than one in three people in sub-Saharan Africa have access to a proper toilet.  In developing countries, 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation.  Half of hospital beds worldwide are taken up by people suffering from water-related diseases.  Around 20% of deaths worldwide under the age of five are due to water-related diseases.

   
In Africa, every few seconds, a child under five dies of a preventable cause
As many as 2,000 children die every day from illnesses caused by contaminated water
   
 

Education is the key to escape the cyle of poverty but, half the world's primary schools have no water or sanitation.  Contaminated water kills more children than HIV Aids, malaria and measles combined.  

Diarrhoea and dysentery can be fatal for the most vulnerable; young children, the elderly and pregnant women.  On top of the health implications, such illnesses regularly prevent children from attending school and adults from working.  This has long-lasting consequences whereby a child’s education and future chance of escaping poverty is compromised and an adult’s ability to provide for their family is hampered.

   

How much does it cost to construct a well?  The short answer is, it depends.  There are many variables that affect a project's budget, such as geography, type of water project, infrastructure, etc., so, the costs can vary wildly.  Africa is a continent with hugely diverse geology and the water wells needed in each location come in many varieties.

We want to ensure that the projects we fund are comprehensive and sustainable to include sanitation components and provision for maintenance training.  Some average costs for various water project types appear to be:  

Spring catchment: £300 serving 250 people

Hand-dug well with hand pump: £3,500 serving 500 people

Borehole well with hand pump: £10,000 serving 1,000 people

Deep borehole, electric pump and generator: £85,000 serving 6,000 people

The goal for some charities is to bring clean, sustainable water to within half a mile of a village.  Based on 370 million people without safe water and sanitation in sub-saharan Africa, this would equate to around 60,000 deep boreholes ... a required investment in the order of £5 billion.

   
The remarkable element of providing clean water for Ethiopians is the low cost 
O
n average, it costs just 25p for one Ethiopian to have fresh clean water for one year
   
ETHIOPIA - SOME FACTS AND FIGURES
   
Ethiopia has a population of around 85.8 million people ... average life expectancy is 52 years ...
... 84% of the population is rural based ... the literacy rate is approximately 42% of the population ...
   
44.5 million Ethiopians have no safe, clean water ... 70 million Ethiopians have no safe toilet ...
... 15% of Ethiopians practice open defecation ... fewer than 7% Ethiopians wash hand regularly ...
... over 33,000 children under five die every year from avoidable diarrhoea ...
   
The birth rate is 5.3 children per woman ... the under 5 infant mortality rate is 123 children per 1,000 births ...
   
Gross national income per capita is approximately US $220 per annum ... the currency is the Ethiopian Birr (ETB) ...
... £1 GBP equates to approximately 33.68 ETB (July 2014) ...
   
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