Worms and Leeches Gone Forever

A stream full of worms, leeches and waterborne disease used to be their only option for Mezegaguf in rural Ethiopia. This community of 350, walked day to collect dirty water. Thanks to the generosity of people like you, they recently got a new well! Now, moms like Akberet Naizgi no longer have to worry about their kids getting sick from dirty water.

The 350 residents of the Mezegaguf village in Ethiopia once had no choice but to fetch their water from remote streams and other stagnant sources that were full of worms, leeches and other red water organisms. They would try to separate the worms from the water by using cloth to filter the water. While that process filtered the worms, it didn't remove all of the other bacteria that were in the water, which caused most of the community to suffer from waterborne disease.

Akberet Naizgi, 23, said that her son repeatedly suffered from diarrhea. She took him to the health center for medical checkups but they couldn't identify the reason. "It was my understanding that the diarrhea might be from the water," Naizgi said. "It's not difficult to understand the quality of the water in the river. You only have to glance at the color of it - it's green. It's full of algae like most stagnant water."

But now, dealing with green-colored water full of potential disease is a thing of the past for Akberet and the other villagers. They also only have to walk 10 minutes for water. She is very happy with the clean water nearby and said that she can see the positive effects throughout the village.

"My family, as well as the whole society, is now using healthy and protected water," she said. "We are free from having to use the contaminated water source. Everyone has an ample supply of water to use."

As you might imagine, World Water Day is our favorite time of year. World Water Day was created in 1993 by the United Nations. Water.org uses the entire week to spread the word of sustainable safe water access for the nearly a billion people currently without it. Our goal is to make this a reality in our lifetime and so we celebrate water and all the progress that has been made, and that we are continuing to make.

Donate Your Voice to the cause using your Facebook or Twitter status. Sign up now! The campaign runs March through March 24th.

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"Clean water makes me smile."
Capital: Addis Ababa
Population of 98.9 million
42.5 million lack access to safe water
71 million lack access to improved sanitation
72% of the total population lives on less than US$2 per day