Provision of Potable Water

A depiction of the chronic water problem some parts of the world face

Chronic shortage of potable drinking water is common to several communities in Africa, especially those in the rural areas. Untreated waters from streams and rivers are the common sources of water for most rural communities. However, indiscriminate human activities and poor agricultural practices lead to the runoff of human and animal waste, pesticides and agro-chemicals into these water bodies during rainfall.

The water bodies become contaminated by fecal material and other wastes containing bacteria and parasites from sick people and animals. Subsequent ingestion by individuals who depend on these waters leads to severe and wide-spread outbreak of water-borne and water-related diseases. Common diarrheal diseases – cholera, typhoid fever, hepatitis A and dysentery – are examples.

Effect on communities: The rate at which these water-borne diseases and other preventable infectious diseases continues to afflict our communities is very alarming. It is estimated that close to 20,000 deaths and many more cases of cholera occur each year. A report published recently in the medical journal The Lancet concluded that poor water sanitation and a lack of safe drinking water take a greater human toll than war, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction combined. According to an assessment commissioned by the United Nations, 4,000 children die each day as a result of diseases caused by ingestion of filthy water. The report says four out of every 10 people in the world, particularly those in Africa and Asia, do not have clean water to drink.

Where we come in: Access to potable drinking water, education on good hygiene and safe food preparation are the most effective means of preventing cholera. In fact, we believe that the provision of adequate supply of potable water must be part of a comprehensive program that addresses these issues holistically.

Our goal is to identify many of these target communities lacking access to potable water and with high incidence of water-borne diseases. We will then work with local volunteers to install wells and bore holes as well as embark on intensive education about good hygiene practices that will reduce contact with the bacteria. These include boiling untreated water before drinking, washing hands regularly before and after meals, and washing whole foods such as fruits and vegetables. In most instances, we will likely work to provide toilet facilities to reduce the high rate of indiscriminate defecation.

Call to Action: Now is the time for us to give back to the communities. But the enormity of the problems is such that we cannot make meaningful impact without your help. We believe, together, you and Give Back Africa Foundation can make a difference in many lives if we join forces.

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Foundation for the Under-privileged