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 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, has reached nearly 200,000 people in Ethiopia with improved water, sanitation and hygiene.

In 2015, 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

    A smart decision for a smart solution

    “When our toilet is complete we will no longer be susceptible to diseases or such poor hygiene practices [open defecation] that cause sickness. Because of our medical backgrounds, we know better than to let our kids defecate on our property.”

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    Alemtsenay Ethiopia
  • Featured

    Their parents gave them water for their wedding

    The parents of newlyweds Medhih and Mesi are excited for their children to start their life together. Knowing what it takes to manage a home and start a family, they helped the young couple build their first home, and gave Medhih and Mesi the gift of safe water.

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Stories of people we empower in Ethiopia

To help us reach more people in need of safe water and sanitation in Ethiopia, donate today.