The Water & Sanitation Crisis in Ethiopia
43 percent of Ethiopians lack access to safe water and 72 percent lack access to improved sanitation. Of those who lack access to improved sanitation, a staggering 28 million practice open defecation.
In rural Ethiopia, a Water.org survey found that many women and children walk over 3 hours to collect water, often from shallow wells or unprotected ponds they share with animals. Recurring droughts result in famine, food shortages, and water-related diseases, as people are forced to rely heavily on contaminated or stagnant water sources.
In terms of financial access, Ethiopia has a large market with 2.8 million borrowers and several state-funded microfinance institutions. In a 2014 survey of more than 400 rural households, we found:
- 70 percent of respondents were interested in a loan for improved water
- 64 percent of respondents were interested in a loan to meet their sanitation needs
Since 2004, Water.org has reached more than 130,000 people in Ethiopia with improved water, sanitation and hygiene. We are currently working with a local direct impact partner on two programs that will reach more than 28,000 people over three years.
In 2015, Water.org launched WaterCredit programs that are expected to reach 40,000 people with access to safe water over three years. We are also conducting advocacy in Ethiopia for a supportive community of practice for water supply and sanitation at the household level.