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10 Facts About Sanitation in SomaliaLack of access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) is inextricably linked to extreme poverty around the globe. Somalia, a country located in the Horn of Africa, has long faced issues relating to WASH. Though Somalia struggles with WASH, some organizations have vastly improved sanitation in Somalia. The following are 10 facts about sanitation in Somalia.

10 Facts About Sanitation in Somalia

  1. Currently, only 52 percent of Somalia’s population has a water supply close to home. This impacts women and children especially since the chore of fetching water falls on them in this society. Women must trek miles in the hot sun to fill jugs of water. Mercy-USA has been working to tackle this water crisis since 1997. In addition, they have dug and repaired about 670 wells. As a result, more than 750,000 people in Somalia have access to safe drinking water.
  2. Only a quarter of Somalia’s population has access to improved sanitation facilities within 10 meters. Poor hygiene and sanitation practices due to a lack of access to proper sanitation facilities can lead to chronic/acute diarrhea, respiratory infections and cholera. Theses are life-threatening illnesses for some age groups. Just the past three years, more than 900 people in Somalia died from cholera. UNICEF is working to improve access to sanitation facilities. It provides integrated interventions that can reduce the incidences of these easily preventable diseases.
  3. Drought has increased the price of water, exacerbating the already dangerous situation. The recent drought in Somalia led to severe water shortages. This tripled the price of a barrel of water (200 liters) to $15. CARE responded to this drought by providing 10,000 people with access to water. Additionally, CARE distributed water purification tablets to areas most affected by the drought.
  4. In parts of Somalia, up to 60 percent of pastoralists’ herds were wiped out by drought. Recently, Somalia experienced a drought that had extremely adverse effects on the country’s pastoralist communities. As Somalia has a traditional agro-pastoral focus, this expected to severely impact the economy. The livestock sector accounts for 40 percent of GDP. Thankfully, “FAO reached 38.3 million animals in Somalia through animal health services.” This “provided more than 900,000 animals with supplementary feeding.” Additionally, it delivered more than 53 million liters of water to these animals in response to the urgent needs of these drought-stricken pastoralists.
  5. Action Against Hunger is providing hygiene education sessions to teach Somali communities about preventing disease. Diseases often spread due to inadequate knowledge surrounding hygienic practices. Action Against Hunger launched a cholera prevention program that provided communities with sessions on hygiene and sanitation. These sessions showed the importance of handwashing, properly disposing of trash and how to properly clean the toilets.
  6. About 37 percent of Somalia’s population defecate in the open, but this is changing. In rural parts of Somalia, open defecation is a common practice that can cause serious risks to public health. UNICEF is working with local partner HEAL in villages in Somalia to educate communities with the goal of ending this practice. Moreover, HEAL proved that simply educating these communities is quite effective. After UNICEF and HEAL provided these villages with technical assistance and ran awareness campaigns, many families used their own money to build latrines. Today 12 villages in Somaliland, two villages in Puntland and 25 villages in Somalia’s central and southern regions have achieved the status of “open defecation free.”
  7. Sanitation in Somali schools is improving. Polish Humanitarian Action (PAH) addressed the need for functional toilets, hand-washing stations and waste disposal locations in Somali schools. PAH assessed schools in Somalia and identified five with the highest need for updates, one of which did not have a single running toilet. Additionally, PAH provided these schools with eight water kiosks. It rehabilitated existing facilities and built “20 triple latrine-blocks with hand-washing facilities.”
  8. Discussion groups are helping organizations understand how to improve Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in Somalia. In Somalia, menstruation continues to be a taboo. Many women only have access to cloth rags that restrict movement. The cloth rags are unsanitary because houses do not always have the ability to wash them regularly. ELRHA sent 2,000 MHM kits to various countries, including Somalia. Its plans are to follow up in one and three months to measure the appropriateness, effectiveness, acceptability and value of these kits as a humanitarian relief item.
  9. Piped water from UNICEF-EU installed tanks is giving children hope that they will be able to attend school in lieu of fetching water. A joint urban water project is installing water tanks on the outskirts of Somali towns and pipelines. In addition, it will bring this vital resource closer to their homes. Farrah, who is 13 years old, supports his family as a water vendor. Hopefully, once water is piped into his town, he will be able to go to school instead of traveling daily for water. Farrah mentioned that “I will go to school. […] I will carry books instead of jerrycans. And I will walk with my classmates instead of a donkey. It has always been my dream to wear a uniform and carry books.”
  10. In the last year, more than 49,000 people had to flee their homes in search of water and other necessities. This came after a drought in 2016 to 2017 that displaced more than one million people. As a result, the U.N. Refugee Agency has been working with partners and government agencies to help those affected and displaced by the drought. They provided emergency assistance to some of the most affected areas of Somalia.

Lack of sanitation is closely tied to poverty. People are unable to break the cycle of poverty when their basic needs are not met. Somalia is still far from achieving proper sanitation for all who inhabit the country. However, these facts about sanitation in Somalia prove that hope is not lost. With help from generous organizations around the world, sanitation can become accessible for all.

Hannah White

Photo: Flickr

Cape Town water
Cape Town, South Africa has experienced a drought for the last three years, leading up to what officials are calling ‘Day Zero,’ or the day the city will turn off a large portion of its tap water and turn to rationing the remaining water among citizens. However, water shortage issues began as early as 1995 with little action from the city to remedy the situation.

Water Crisis

What happened in 1995 that caused a crisis over two decades later? The population of Cape Town began increasing and has steadily increased by over three-quarters of its previous population. Fortunately, this multiplication alone was not the cause of the water crisis; rather, it was population growth paired with little increase in water storage.

The city failed to compensate a growing population to its water usage, and while this has made a significant impact on the amount of water in Cape Town, the city has still been able to maintain reasonable water levels despite a lack of added water storage facilities.

This success is primarily due to plentiful rainfall during the monsoon seasons, which may also be why Cape Town has previously failed to increase its water storage for so many years.

Restrictions and Rations

Unfortunately, a drought began in South Africa in 2015 that severely limited the amount of water available to citizens, especially those in Cape Town.

The drought brought to light the water storage issue for Cape Town officials who began urging citizens to conserve the remaining water. They initially asked that each citizen use approximately 87 liters of water before decreasing the amount to a mere 50 liters, or just over 13 gallons, daily.  

The South African government has created a rationing system to be implemented when the water levels decrease to a low enough level. The day this occurs is the day referred to as ‘Day Zero.’ However, in the meantime, the most energy is being placed into reminding citizens to continue to reduce their water usage.

Applications and Online Services

In light of the water crisis, the University of Cape Town has developed a series of cell phone applications that will aid in water conservation. The first is a free application called ‘DropDrop.’

DropDrop allows users to track water usage in real time, helping citizens ensure that they are staying within the city’s new water restrictions. The app is especially useful in areas where regular access to the internet does not exist due to the application’s offline nature after initial download.

Among the services created for Capetonians during the water crisis is an organization, Picup. The group started with the goal of quickly shipping water to Cape Town residents, and now allows Capetonians to order bottled water and receive it to one’s home within 24 hours.

The water can be purchased in two order sizes, with the smallest being 30 liters with an affordable price tag of around 176 Rands, or approximately $13.

City Initiatives

Among the initiatives implemented to conserve water in Cape Town is the initiative started by Cape Town officials that monitors household water usage. The initiative also awards certificates and name recognition on the city website for households showing a 10 percent or higher decrease in water usage.

The city also gives daily updates on water levels for surrounding dams in order to encourage Capetonians in their conservation efforts.

Moving Forwards

Despite the outstanding circumstances Cape Town has faced over the last few years, the future looks bright. With a strong community making huge lifestyle changes to conserve water, the city’s water basins are filling back up and allowing citizens to be a part of a community survival story.

The water crisis in Cape Town has proved the city’s growing wisdom and trendsetting environmental responsibility. This growth has not only set an example for the world to follow, but it has also been the first to prove that any inescapability, even one as drastic as ‘Day Zero,’ can be overcome.  

Alexandra Ferrigno
Photo: Flickr

wells in Africa
In most developed nations across the globe, water is taken for granted. What is so vital for existence is easily dispensed from numerous faucets in each home.

However, in less developed nations, particularly across Africa, water is much more difficult to come by.  Across the continent, the number of people without access to quality water has increased by 66 million since 1990. Many are forced to spend hours per day collecting heavy water from far away sources. Others use contaminated water that is ridden with bacteria and unsafe for consumption. Still others go without.

Wells in small towns and villages provide an effective way to address issues surrounding proper sanitation and access to high quality drinking water.  Here are five reasons that water wells in Africa are the smart choice for progress and investment.

How Water Wells in Africa Can Solve Water Scarcity

  1. Only 16 percent of people living in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to drinking water through a household faucet. This means that 84 percent must find access to water outside of their home.With the climate being so arid and a very small portion of the population living near the largest water sources, many have very limited access to water. The Congo River Basin holds over 30 percent of the water supply for the whole continent but less than 10 percent of the continent’s people.Coupled with the lack of education surrounding water quality, this creates a dangerous situation for consumption of contaminated water. Wells in Africa can provide a convenient and safe source of water for many of its inhabitants.
  2. Disease from water-borne illness is at a high. For example, in Africa, over two million children die from illnesses brought on due to poor water each year.A startling one in eight people drink water that could potentially kill a human being. Another one in three drink water that is deemed unclean, amassing to 330 million people consuming unsafe water. Kids across the continent miss more than 440 million school days due to water-related diseases.Beyond clean drinking water, the World Health Organization estimated that in 2004, only 59 percent of the world’s population had access to adequate sanitation systems. This lack of hygiene surrounding water usage takes up 50 percent of hospital beds across Africa on any given day, creating costs and using precious resources.
  3. The benefits from a well outweigh the cost. While the cost of wells in Africa varies by location, on average the positive impact that a well has on people’s lives outweighs the building cost.As well as helping to improve living conditions, wells also create positive economic responses. It is estimated that $1 invested in clean water and sanitation yields a $9 return. This is due to the economic stimulation that a well can bring about.This increased productivity stems from fewer sick days taken and more kids, particularly girls, staying in school. Additional money is saved from the lack of hospitalization. While the implementation cost of a well can be high, a single well in Africa can meet the basic daily needs of nearly 2,000 people and last for over 20 years.
  4. Wells can help foster gender equality. It is commonplace for young girls to drop out of school due to a lack of proper sanitation facilities and familial expectations to collect water.With water sources sometimes being several hours each way and jugs weighing up to 40 pounds when filled, water collection is a full-time job. If wells are introduced, girls may have increased opportunity to obtain an education, bolstering their standing within society and contributing to their own prospects and economic prospects at large.
  5. Rural areas continue to face huge barriers to quality water access. While quality water and adequate sanitation are ongoing battles for both rural and urban areas, more people are affected by the issue at the rural level. 84 percent of those who do not have access to a clean water source live in rural areas.Aid and funding do not match this demonstrated need, however, as aid for rural areas is declining and aid for urban areas has increased by 60 percent since 2000. Wells provide an excellent solution for rural areas as a single well can function as a water source for an entire village.

The water crisis in Africa is one that is affecting millions of lives daily. The construction of wells in Africa is a potential solution to an issue that must be dealt with in order to reach a more stable and equal global society.

– Jessie Serody
Photo: Flickr

Cities That Will Run Out of Water

Over 70 percent of the world’s surface area is covered in water. However, the majority of the world’s poor, who number about three billion, live in areas absent of clean water. Most of the earth’s water is saltwater, but there are still means to purify it for drinking and cooking purposes.

According to UNICEF, women may spend between 30 minutes to eight hours a day searching for water. The average walking distance for women in Africa and Asia is 6.0 km (3.7 miles) to walk and carry the water for their families. The following are all cities that will run out of water soon without proper attention.

  1. Cape Town, South Africa: There might be a large-scale shutdown of tap water this summer. Mayor Patricia de Lille laments that residents have not heeded to advice to reduce consumption. If national consumption exceeds the dam capacity, there will be a total shutdown this April. This is referred to as “Day Zero.”Solution: Large-scale desalination plants along the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.
  2. Sao Paolo, Brazil: Brazil’s largest city was recently devastated by droughts. The Cantareira Reservoir is now a cracked and parched dirt field. This is a result of reduced rainfall and increased demand for water by the unauthorized settling of residents in nearby areas.Solution: Restoring degraded forests; this will prevent soil erosion, floods and allow for plants to store the water naturally and recycle it as a watershed.
  3. Bangalore, India: This city cannot ignore the water shortage any longer. The local demand far exceeds the available cubic meters of safe water. Bangalore has a reputation of possessing the most inefficient water pumping and distribution network in all of Asia.Solution: Repair the rampant leakage in the corroded, 100- to 200-year-old piping system, and improve the efficiency of the distribution system. Water is plentiful in Bangalore, but a modern distribution mechanism will ensure it evades being among the cities that will run out of water soon.
  4. Beijing, China: China is home to nearly 20 percent of the world’s population, but only has seven percent of the world’s freshwater. To make matters worse, what little water it has is unsafe for drinking due to pollution. Furthermore, the Chinese government has authorized the construction of oil refineries in areas where water is scarce, such as the Xinjiang province.Solution: Recycle more than half of its water, which would be on the same standard as developed European nations. With this development, Beijing can strive for a living standard of cleaner water instead of being among the first cities that will run out of water.
  5. Cairo, Egypt: The Nile is almost all of the country’s source of water. A city of 20 million people, and rapidly growing, does not fare well with a fixed water share. Some farmers have even been forced to irrigate using sewage water.Solution: Currently, the Egyptian government is urging people to move to surrounding cities whose water sources are detached from Cairo. This will reduce the water stress on the city and prevent further stress on new desalination plants exclusively for the city of Cairo.

Better planning and management of water sources are only possible once wealth increases and corruption is eradicated. Eliminating undue bureaucracy is a difficult step, so it is important to approach each of these cities’ challenges on a needs basis. It is necessary to understand that water is not only a basic human need but also a basic human right.

– Awad Bin-Jawed

Photo: Flickr

sustainable agriculture in ethiopiaThere is a need for sustainable agriculture in Ethiopia because the sustainability of agriculture affects other needs such as food security and water. Food security is accomplished through small-scale irrigation projects which allow communities to produce food and cash crops, vegetables and fruits at least twice a year. Markets are also able to expand beyond local consumption and goods are transported to larger centers, thus bringing in income.

Steps to develop sustainable agriculture in Ethiopia include training farmers in better agricultural practices, giving farmers improved seed and holding activities to manage natural resources such as soil and water. These types of projects also lead to opportunities for off-farm activities, including work opportunities for women, and encourage long-term participation for a sustainable system.

There continues to be efforts toward establishing water and food security in order to allow people to feed themselves and have access to nearby, safe water. According to the organization Rainbow for the Future, irrigation development projects are one of the most innovative and successful methods of bringing water and food security as well as necessary infrastructure to people in remote rural regions.

Rainbow for the Future is a Canadian development agency dedicated to the organization and integration of sustainable development efforts in Ethiopia, aiming to help people help themselves. When pastoral groups have the land and water needed to properly cultivate, they are able to make a consistent living and need not rely on aid.

Rainbow for the Future, Westlock Growing Project, the Canadian Foodgrains Banks and other organizations have participated in around 60 projects over the past 20 years to address various sustainability issues. Examples include:

  • Creating an accessible water supply, sparing women and young girls from walking five kilometers to fill a 60-pound container with contaminated water.
  • Building new high schools and a vocational school closer to rural towns, enabling children to have a bright future and preventing them from facing violence when leaving their homes in pursuit of education or work.
  • Improving grinding mills and grain stores to provide both food and income security.
  • Providing accessible healthcare and medical facilities so people do not have to make a dangerous and difficult full-day’s walk to get help.
  • Developing economic empowerment programs for women, including the establishment of women’s cooperatives and microloan programs.

Because of these types of partnerships and support, projects for sustainable agriculture in Ethiopia are able to be completed successfully and change is able to take place. The nation of Ethiopia is on its way to a more sustainable, brighter future.

– Julia Lee

Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in Palestine

Gaza is one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world, with 1.8 million people confined in a 140-mile radius. The only water resource, the Coastal Aquifer, is insufficient for the needs of the population. Water access and water quality in Palestine leaves a lot to be desired.

The World Bank reported on the poor water quality in Palestine, as well as the lack of access to sanitation services that reached crisis proportions. Due to said conditions, Palestinians in Gaza are forced to over-extract water from the Coastal Aquifer in order to stay alive. They obtain water at a rate equivalent to twice the aquifer’s yearly sustainable yield, causing the water to become contaminated.

In 2008, WHO estimated that 26% of diseases in Gaza were water-related, a statistic that could be higher now that 90-95% of Gaza water is polluted and unfit for human consumption. Due to the contamination, high levels of nitrite were found in the groundwater at levels far above the WHO accepted guideline of 50mg per liter. Such dispersion has increased cases of methemoglobinemia, a blood disorder that impedes the flow of oxygen in young infants.

Why Palestinians in Gaza Lack Water Facilities

The water quality in Palestine remains unsanitary due to Israel’s blockade of Gaza, and military operations hinder the possibility of Palestinians restoring their water facilities. Wells, cisterns and roof water tanks have been destroyed and damaged, most notably during the Israeli attacks in 2008 and 2014.

During the 2008 Operation ‘Cast Lead,’ Israel caused U.S. $6 million worth of damage to Gaza’s water supply and wastewater facilities. In 2014 the Israeli attack on Gaza resulted in heavy destruction of infrastructure; the total damage was estimated to be $4.4 billion and included water and sanitation facilities.

The loss of water facilities has had a lasting impact on the Palestinians in Gaza. The continued blockade by Israeli security forces prevents the import of equipment and spare parts needed to repair and improve the water supply and sanitation systems. Even simple sanitation items such as chlorine are not permitted.

Furthermore, water main and sewage conduits are routinely crushed by Israeli tanks and armored vehicles. Water tanks are also shot at and damaged by Israeli soldiers.

Addressing the Issue Through the BDS Movement

In 2007 Palestinians founded “Lifesource,” a collective working at the grassroots level to organize for water justice.

The mission of Lifesource is to:

  1. Educate Palestinians about their water rights and enable communities to take an active role in improving the situation.
  2. Promote and utilize nonviolent popular resistance tactics for the human rights to water and sanitation.
  3. Connect popular movements locally and globally to support Palestinian water rights.

In 2009 “Lifesource” partnered with the global campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).

Lifesource led a program called “BDS for Palestinian Water Justice,” supporting boycott divestment and eschewing sanctions that infringe on Palestinians right to water and sanitation. The BDS Movement works to increase economic and political pressure on Israel to end the occupation and colonization of Palestinian land. By organizing demonstrations that target companies that have contracts with Israel, companies are pressured to break ties with Israel, thus deterring the country from continuing to occupy Palestine. Their work led to some success: water companies profiteering from human rights violations, such as Eden Springs and Veolia, lost important contracts and had to downsize or close their doors.

Although Lifesource came to an end in 2012, the BDS movement is still up and running, giving Palestinians in Gaza hope that their basic human needs will continue to be addressed.

Marcelo Guadiana

Photo: Flickr

Rulindo ChallengeThe Rulindo Challenge is an initiative developed in 2010 by the partnership of the non-governmental organization (NGO) Water For People and the Rwandan government. The Challenge acts as a permanent solution to provide full water access to the northern, rural Rwandan province of Rulindo by 2018.

Approximately 285,000 people reside in the Rulindo District. The terrain of the area is mostly hills and valleys, so springs and groundwater make up the main sources of water in Rulindo.

According to a report by Water For People, prior to the Rulindo Challenge the area lacked proper standards in terms of the water quality in Rwanda. Only 29% of the population had access to safe drinking water and just six percent of water systems were likely to provide sustainable water service.

Goals of the Rulindo Challenge

Rulindo’s 2016 goals include increasing the levels of water access by 11% through sustainable water infrastructure, such as installing eight piped water systems in five areas and water tanks in 13 schools. A new health care facility was also constructed as a result of the goals.

The Rulindo Challenge also seeks to increase the newly established water infrastructure’s sustainability to 100% at the end of 2016, building the technical and financial capacity needed for two private operators and the district water board members and staff. To implement these goals, the progressive partnership has developed a systematic approach in order to meet district-wide demands for clean water and sanitation. The joint partners set out to achieve sustainability challenges to meet current local capacity and strength, leveraging locally available resources and striving to serve as a model for replication.

What Has it Already Accomplished?

According to a report by Water For People, “community water service has increased 20 percentage points to 49 percent in the district as a result of these activities.” The water and sanitation at schools and clinics also increased drastically to 67% in the Rulindo District.

Currently, nearly 118,000 community water beneficiaries, 114 connections at 68 public institution water systems and over 51,500 public water beneficiaries have been created since the beginning of the Rulindo Challenge to improve water quality in Rwanda.

The initiative resulted in improved access to water supply for 60,000 people. In addition, the quality of the water mechanisms is expected to last well into the future. Sustainability measures in 2012 recorded just six percent prior to the Rulindo Challenge.

The increase in sustainability to 89% resulted in an 83-point percentage overall improvement. Due to the increased sustainability in the district, the implementation of the strategies and approaches shows that communities and public institutions will have safe, reliable access to drinking water for many years to come.

When the Rulindo Challenge concludes in 2018, the partners will implement a thorough exit strategy to ensure that the maintenance and protection of the water resources remain intact. In addition, the partners will implement a plan for climate change resilience to promote sustainability and access to adequate water sources for generations to come.

Haylee Gardner

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in SwazilandIn conjunction with its quickly growing population, Swaziland has experienced continuous economic difficulties, especially in its rural areas. Here are nine interesting facts about poverty in Swaziland.

9 Facts About Poverty in Swaziland

  1. Ten percent of the population is responsible for about half of the nation’s consumption, while 84 percent of those living in poverty in Swaziland reside in rural areas. These figures point to a disproportion in the flow of resources between urban and rural areas in Swaziland.
  2. According to the Rural Poverty Portal, roughly 47 percent of the population is less than 15 years old. The unemployment rate of Swaziland is expected to rise unless working opportunities are found for these children.
  3. Life expectancy has actually dropped from a peak of 59 years in 1990 to 49 years in 2014.
  4.  In 2013, Swaziland had the highest rate of HIV in the world, at 27 percent according to AVERT. During 2013, 11,000 people contracted HIV, and 4,500 people died as a result of HIV.
  5. The data shared by AVERT shows that 31 percent of women have HIV as opposed to only 20 percent of men. This difference is likely tied to gender inequality in Swaziland, as women are often not in control of their own reproductive and sexual health.
  6. Nevertheless, Swaziland has seen improvements in its HIV problem during the 2000s through increased rates of antiretroviral treatment and investments in HIV response. AVERT’s statistics demonstrate such improvement. In 2012, only three percent of children born to HIV-positive mothers were HIV positive, as opposed to 12 percent in the prior year.
  7. Drought has been a major factor in restricting growth and contributing to poverty in Swaziland. According to All Africa, a drought last year was partially responsible for a 31 percent decline in maize production in 2015 and left 300,000 people (one-quarter of the population) targeted for aid.
  8. Other impacts of drought are seen in education, where water is needed for plumbing. The lack of water also increases the potential for water contamination, with 197,157 students, teachers, and workers being put at risk of water-borne disease.
  9. Since 2000, the Kingdom of Swaziland has been implementing a plan to reduce poverty. Some goals include providing all rural households with access to water as well as giving women the same rights over their land that men have.

Foreign support in dealing with problems such as HIV and water shortage would certainly help improve the economic disparity found in Swaziland, in conjunction with the nation’s own efforts.

Edmond Kim

Photo: Flickr

Hippo Roller

Almost 1 billion people in Africa struggle for access to water. According to the Water Project, this is equal to one in eight of the world’s population. Water supplies are often many miles from the village. Women and children must travel to collect water and carry full buckets back home.

However, solutions like the Hippo Roller are helping revolutionize this process.

When water supply points are as far as 10 kilometers (6 miles) from home, water is often carried in 20-liter (5 gallons) buckets balanced on top of heads. The Hippo Roller is a simple solution that allows the people who collect water to collect up to five times more.

The Hippo Roller is a 90 liter (24 gallon) container that is rolled along the ground. The water collectors are usually elders, women and children. Instead of being carried on the head, as usual, the water is rolled–either pushed or pulled. This allows more people to access water, which improves food security and income generation.

Two South Africans, Pettie Petzer and Johan Jonker, invented the Hippo Roller in 1991. They both knew the water crisis’ effects on daily life. The Hippo Roller Project was established in 1994 with the mission of “helping communities to improve access to water–90 liters at a time.”

As of Sept. 2015, there had been 46,000 Hippo Rollers distributed in 20 countries. This has helped 300,000 people in families where the average size is seven. The ability to roll the water instead of carrying it reduces injuries and gives more time for school and other activities.

Grant Gibbs, Project Leader for Hippo Water Roller Project explains that women in rural Africa can spend up to 26 percent of their time collecting water. This automatically includes the children. When women can collect more water at a time, they can spend more of their day on other important tasks. When children are needed less to collect water, they can go to school.

The innovation of transporting more water more efficiently makes more “time available for education, household tasks and food production.” The design allows for hygienic collection and storage of water and even irrigation of crops.

Rhonda Marrone

Photo: Hippo Roller

Poverty in the Democratic Republic Of The Congo
Since the development of the Democratic Republic of the Congo—commonly known as the DRC or the DR Congo—the nation has been the center of what many historians refer to as “Africa’s World War.” Although the country is vastly populated with an innumerable amount of resources, poverty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo still defines the lives of children and adults.

 

Examining Poverty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

 

Causes

One of the main causes of poverty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is health threats, specifically a malaria outbreak, which resulted in approximately 6.7 million cases nationwide in 2009. Infectious diseases, like malaria, divert intentions for economic investments, threaten public health and contribute to child mortality rates.

Yet, health risks are not the only notable sources of poverty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is estimated that there are about 4 million orphans whose population has been created not only by disease but also by the intense conflict in the area.

However, the violent area of South Kivu is gradually returning to a more peaceful and prosperous region, improving the lives of people in the conflict zones.

Solutions 

In 2001, the World Bank reengaged with the DRC by providing financial and technical assistance through the application of several emergency plans to aid in the recovery of the health of the region’s people.

Projects like the Karhale Water Supply Project improved public access to potable water for 2,750 households in Bukavu, reducing travel time by placing water standpipes in strategic locations. With more access to potable water, Bukavu significantly reduced the transmission of water-borne illnesses, like the parasitic worm infection, schistosomiasis.

More recently, the World Bank’s assistance has shifted its efforts to supporting institutional capacity through the Enhancing Governance Capacity Project (PRCG) and the Public Administration Capacity Building Project (PRC-GAP).

Before the PRCG closed in February 2016, the project implemented new human resource management and public finance systems in the central and provincial governments of the region, which allowed the South Kivu Province to double its revenue between 2009 and 2014.

The project’s final goal is to reorganize the current government to permit the development of economic performance at the local level. Currently, the project has facilitated the rehabilitation of eight centers to facilitate the ongoing training of government officials throughout the nation.

The DRC will be able to reduce its dependency on external technical assistance via resources such as training at universities and higher education institutions. The Catholic University of Bukavu benefitted directly from this project, as it now runs one of the most recognized centers for excellence for the area.

When visiting Bukavu for the first time, the World Bank Country Director for the DRC, Ahmadou Moustapha Ndiaye, explained in a 2016 press release how the World Bank progresses with the success of the nation. “Our goal is to lay the foundation for sustainable development in the South Kivu Province, and throughout the country, which entails establishing efficient and transparent institutions and management systems.”

Veronica Ung-Kono

Photo: Flickr