Ethiopia's water and sanitation crisis

61 million Ethiopians lack access to safe water and 65 million lack access to improved sanitation. Of those who lack access to improved sanitation, a staggering 27 million practice open defecation.

In rural Ethiopia, a Water.org survey found that many women and children walk more than three 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 three 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

Our impact in Ethiopia

Since 2004, Water.org has reached more than 200,000 people in Ethiopia with improved water, sanitation and hygiene.

In 2015, Water.org launched WaterCredit programs that are expected to reach 40,000 people with access to safe water over five years. We are also conducting advocacy in Ethiopia for a supportive community of practice for water supply and sanitation at the household level.

  • Featured

    To endless possibilities

    With a small, affordable loan, Birtukan and Adisu were able to install a water connection on their land. Now, their four children are going to school and dreaming about the future.

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    Birtukan and Adisu
  • Featured

    A smart decision for a smart solution

    A small, affordable loan made possible by Water.org empowered Alemtsenay and her husband to construct a bathroom for their family. Alemtsenay shared, “We will no longer be susceptible to diseases or such poor hygiene practices that cause sickness.”

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    Alemtsenay

Stories of people we empower in Ethiopia

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