Clean Water: A Universal Human Right

human right
a right that is believed to belong justifiably to every person

In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights set forth, for the first time, fundamental human rights that should be universally protected for all people including civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. It wasn’t until 2010, however, that the UN General Assembly declared “safe and clean drinking water and sanitation a human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and other human rights”.

Current statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that 2.2 billion people are without safely managed drinking water services (defined as improved water sources located on premises, available when needed, and free from contamination). Those without safely managed water services include:

  • 1.4 billion people with basic services – access to an improved water source within a round trip of 30 minutes
  • 206 million people with limited services – access to an improved water source requiring more than 30 minutes to collect water
  • 435 million people taking water from unprotected wells and springs
  • 144 million people collecting untreated surface water from lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.

The families residing in the villages in and around Dangla, Ethiopia, fall into these last two categories – drinking from unprotected wells/springs and untreated surface water. The only available water source in many areas is a shallow, dirty stream used by both people and animals. Children drinking from these streams experience significantly more water-borne illnesses and miss more school than their peers who do have access to clean water.

That is why in 2020, we are redoubling our efforts to deliver clean, safely managed water to the Dangla community. This year Project Ethiopia will:

  • Install school wells at two sites utilizing a modern drill rig and provide more than 750 students in grades K – 8th with daily access to clean water for the first time.
  • Distribute home water filters to 100 families bringing clean water to more than 500 adults and children.

With each well that we build and each filter that is shared with a family, we will also ensure that schools and families have the knowledge and skills to provide upkeep and maintenance; making sure that water remains accessible throughout the year and the projects are truly owned by the community. We are eager and determined to move this work ahead so that lack of access to clean water is no longer an insurmountable challenge for hundreds of rural children and families. Keep a look out for updates in the coming months on our progress!


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