Like many women in Ethiopia, Lemlem is responsible for gathering water for her family. Three months out of the year, an irrigation ditch near her village has water that was never intended for human consumption. When the ditch dries up, the only other source is also unclean and a 7-hour round-trip walk away.
Because of the great distance, Lemlem’s family has, at most, five gallons of water to use per day. This means that drinking and cooking take priority, and important hygienic practices are sacrificed for survival. When asked about the negative effects of the continued use of dirty water, Lemlem and the other village members collecting water smile politely and honestly respond, “What other options do we have?”
Lemlem’s village will be the first of many to have a water point implemented in its community by our local partner, Drop of Water. No longer will individuals have to walk miles to gather water from a contaminated source for their family’s survival.
DROP OF WATER—BLOOD:WATER PARTNERSHIP
In partnership with Drop of Water, Blood:Water has committed to supporting sustainable clean water supply and proper sanitation facilities development in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia.
Not only will this partnership result in water points and sanitation facilities in this fairly remote region, it will also leverage and increase advocacy networks built by DOW by establishing platforms for university students to connect with community water committees and important WASH-sector stakeholders.
Tigray Region has limited government infrastructure and few operational organizations, and the majority of the population only speaks the local language, requiring a partnership with an organization, like DOW, that has intimate knowledge of both the language and area. DOW’s knowledge will allow the organization to create sustainable practices through village-level operation and maintenance training, while preparing and distributing water safety plans for each water point.
The goals of this partnership are to:
Increase water supply development
Implement Climate Resilience Water Safety Plan for sustainability
Empower university students for WASH advocacy and practice
Drop of Water began in 2009, when seven Mekelle University students saw firsthand the impact a water organization can make in Tigray communities. With the mission to eradicate the water problem in Ethiopia by providing clean water and advocating sanitation and the protection of the environment, Drop of Water has implemented over 26 water points and provided clean water to thousands of individuals since its founding.
Drop of Water has implemented an effective three-step approach to its mission: providing access to clean water, helping communities create strategic plans in areas prone to water shortage, and running an Aware, Active and Change campaign, which leverages professionals and university students to learn about, advocate for, and create water, sanitation, and hygiene solutions in their communities.
Blood:Water’s current partnership with Drop of Water began in August 2017.
Unique among African countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule with the exception of a short-lived Italian occupation from 1936-1941. In 1974, a military junta, the Derg, deposed Emperor Haile Selassie (who had ruled since 1930) and established a socialist state. Torn by bloody coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled in 1991 by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front.
A constitution was adopted in 1994 and Ethiopia’s first multiparty elections were held in 1995. A border war with Eritrea in the late 1990s ended with a peace treaty in December 2000. In August 2012, longtime leader, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi died in office and was replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, marking the first peaceful transition of power in decades.
Country Population: 102 million
National Language: Amharic
Source: CIA Factbook 2016