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Water is a basic human right that we, as Americans, tend to take for granted. Many of us do not know the full extent of how water is unequally distributed in some areas of the world, specifically in developing countries. The objective of my research is to examine the effect of the lack of clean water in sub-Saharan Africa in general and Ethiopia, specifically on women and children. Ironically, Ethiopia is considered as a water tower of Africa and a source of the Blue Nile River, but 32% of the population do not have access to clean water. Studies indicate that the unprecedented effect of climate change on hydrologic cycle will significantly affect the availability of water in the region. Per the Huffington Post, Ethiopian women and children in some rural areas walk up to four hours a day to fetch even non-sanitized water, which cause waterborne diseases that claim the lives of 500,000 children. This lack of access to clean drinking water has placed a burden on females and children and risk their safety by embarking on this long journey, which also loses their opportunity to attain an education. Here, I will gather data on distribution of water resources, population, socio-economic and public health from different sources (i.e, publisher articles and United Nation reports), and analyze the severity of the problem. Further, I will consider the potential effect of the country’s plans to build the “Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam” to improve the livelihood of women and children. Finally, I will observe if there are any policies considered being passed to improve water accessibility, which would impact women and children’s well-being and could lead to an education to better develop the nation.

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Zelalem K Bedaso

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Stander Symposium poster


Presenter: Alyssa Marie Miller

Water: More Than Just a Life Source for Ethiopian Women and Children