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Habitat for Humanity works in 70 countries around the world. One of these countries is Ethiopia, where access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities for the 94 million population is a priority.

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habitat org BERA Ethiopian Village Receives Water Reservoir


"I now have a lot more time to study"

Habitat for Humanity works in 70 countries around the world. One of these countries is Ethiopia, where access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities for the 94 million population is a priority.

Atsede Chalachew´s, 15, life has changed dramatically thanks to Habitat for Humanity. Astede lives with her parents and two siblings in Bakel Village in Finote Selam, western Ethiopia. Like the other women in her village, she used to spend up to four hours a day fetching water. Now, it’s just minutes away from her home and she says she has “a lot more time to study.”

Water in Ethiopia

Finote Selam, in the Amhara region of western Ethiopia, doesn’t have enough potable water with only 66% of the total need being met. In fact, only 27% of the Ethiopian population have access to safe drinking water, and a mere 10% have access to sanitation facilities. As a result, illness and diseases caused by poor sanitation and contaminated water supplies are common.

That all changed in Finote Selam in early February with the inauguration of a water reservoir project with eight communal water points.  Working in partnership, Habitat for Humanity Ethiopia, BERA, Habitat for Humanity Germany, and Wilo have changed Atsede’s and the community’s lives forever.

BERA financed the supply of pipes and fittings, development of four springs, pipe installation work and communal connections and public taps. Wilo, one of the biggest pump producers in Europe, offered its assessment and installation services pro bono.

The reservoir project serves the entire town with clean, safe water. More than 400 families (that’s 2,785 people) now have increased access to water. A further 300families are expected to have access within a year.

The availability of potable water will also reduce water-born diseases like cholera and bilharzia. “I have drunk river water all my life,” said 76-year-old Getinet Desta, who lives in nearby Shebekuuma village. “We had to go to a health center to be cured from these water-born diseases and incur unnecessary cost.”

Water committees and water department personnel have been trained to operate and maintain the system, which is key to the project’s on-going success. In addition, Habitat for Humanity, together with BERA, will also provide training to improve hygiene practices throughout the community.

Habitat isn’t about building a structure but building a healthy home,” said Habitat for Humanity Ethiopia´s National Director Desiree Bartosiak. “That is why access to water is so very important and why we embarked on this project. Our Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) program has served more than 5,000 families to date across Ethiopia and we hope to increase this number exponentially in the future.”