The Importance of Access to Water: A United Nations Story
Since 2012, UNICEF and the European Union (EU) have partnered to build more than 130 water points in the Machakel district of Ethiopia. These water sources serve over 500 households and have increased water supply coverage almost 20%.
The benefits of increased access to water go beyond public health. Often, women and young girls in rural communities – both in Ethiopia and around the world- must trek great distances to gather water for themselves and their families. Many spend an entire day traveling to and from their closest water source, leaving little time for other activities.
By bringing water sources closer to Ethiopian communities, UNICEF and the EU are shaping brighter futures for Ethiopians, particularly young women, by giving girls time for education and schooling, and strengthening family and community dynamics by ensuring mothers have more time to spend with and care for their young children.
Said one 17 year old girl, “I can now fetch water and go to school on time. Before I used to miss class because the place I used to fetch water from was too far away.”
Projects like these support the fact that the number of children not in school (102 million) has been cut by half worldwide.
In addition to building water points, the EU is also supporting a nutrition program in the Machakel district. It aims to reduce the number of severe acute malnutrition cases across the country by emphasizing a balanced diet, establishing regular contact by locally supported health workers and community leaders with mothers and families, and requesting notification of health workers by families regarding any changes in individual children’s health. In the past 4 years, the nutrition program has cut the number of cases of severe acute malnutrition by over 50%.
Watch the video above for more information and for a personal look at the project, and please share the great work being done by UNICEF and the European Union.