Water for Life
A Social Justice Issue in Ethiopia
Why Water Matters
- Brushing your teeth
- Washing your face
- Drinking water or other beverages in which water is an ingredient
- Eating food prepared by boiling water or cooking using the steam that comes off boiling water
- Washing your hands
- Flushing the toilet
In Ethiopia and other developing countries around the world, clean drinking water is an abstract concept rather than a readily available resource. This means that diseases such as cholera, guinea worm disease, fluorosis, malaria, and typhoid continue to spread. The chart below provides a breakdown of deaths that directly result from water-related diseases in the developing world. You will see that the slate blue pie slice occupies a significant portion of the chart.
Why don't these people have access to clean water?
- One reason for a lack of access to clean drinking water is that, "There is a large threat to Africa's lakes, rivers and wetlands due to things like chemical run-off, pesticide use, and more."
- Secondly, "Africa shares their freshwater ecosystems with many nations, so if there is a coordination difficulty with a nation, it will be a tough process to try and create a plan. Women in Africa walk miles and miles, more than once a day just to get a bucket of water, which they will then have to use for the majority of their daily tasks. "
- A third reason is, "Ethiopia,...has a low level of water and sanitation coverage and a low level of hygiene awareness, which creates many health problems."
- Additionally, "Ethiopia has experienced recurring droughts followed by food shortages and famines. During times of drought, water-related diseases are rampant. Surface water sources such as springs and ponds dry up. Remaining water sources are heavily contaminated by environmental waste, such as human and animal excreta, which is washed in when it does rain. The stagnant water serves as a breeding place for mosquitoes." (source)
What Can We Do?
Through their efforts, we can help change the plight of our Ethopian brothers and sisters from this...
Okay, but Lecrae said, "How Many of My Friends are African?"
For example, our Knight and Squire newsletter class worked during Lent to raise awareness for those who don't have access to clean drinking water. In addition to making this Smore, students sold water bottles after school (with the website linked via QR code on the label) and then gave all the money raised to Catholic Relief Services.
This allowed students to participate in the global community. A way to extend this endeavor next year might be to encourage families to keep water bottles in their cars for the sole purpose of giving to homeless people they see on the street. Another idea could be to serve at Martha's Kitchen with the school or to research our local homeless population to find out what basic needs they have that aren't being met that could be helped relatively easily if we simply took action.
Working to support global efforts and being kind to one another at home are of equal importance, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,... (Matthew 25:35)"