African Water Facility: Creating Change
The water crisis in Africa is real. With close to 50 percent of Africans contracting a waterborne disease, the associated number of deaths contributed to either lack of water or improper water sanitation stands at an astounding 2 million lives lost each year. Even in 2013, in the glorious age of iPhones, internet and instant communication, 35 percent of the world’s population still lacks proper access to the most basic building block of life – water.
One standout organization works to change these statistics by creating a movement and igniting change across the continent. The African Water Facility (AWF) focuses on locating and using resources in the most efficient manner to spur water development initiatives across Africa. AWF is funded and hosted through the African Development Bank, which works through a variety of industries to promote its mission statement to “promote sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty in Africa.” One of its initiatives in accomplishing this goal is the African Water Facility, created by the African Development Bank in 2006 to address the health problems associated with inadequate water.
The African Water Foundation provides relief in multiple sectors, with the ultimate goal of reaching the United Nations Africa Water Vision by 2025 to create sustainable food and water sources for Africa’s entire population. The AWF offers support to both governments and regional organizations to increase water governance and to increase better tracking of water resources. This also helps to ensure cooperation between borders to share resources and work together to make a difference.
Another goal of the foundation is to attract investors to support African infrastructure and development to increase funding to the region. The plan is for these monetary investments to pump money into Africa, encouraging development and the accumulation of resources, including food, water, proper sanitation, and adequate regulations. The AWF plans to bring in investors through the development of innovative new technologies and invention of educational programs.
The AWF’s two current primary focuses include spreading “knowledge and information” in addition to following up with their projects through “monitoring and evaluation.” This spread of knowledge is aimed at informing citizens how to both evaluate the quality of water and learn low-cost methods of securing a safe water source through new technology. The plan for their second focus on evaluation includes completing assessments of each African nation, collecting data on water availability, and establishing management systems to encourage communication about the water.
Though the AWF has set ambitious goals for itself in providing sustainable access to food and water to the entire continent of Africa before 2025, its methodology and systemized organization just might be enough to maintain the focus on addressing the water crisis and make exciting changes.
– Allison Meade
Sources: African Water Facility, Build Africa