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Ethiopia: What a Difference Water Makes

Categories: Sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopia, Citizen Media, Development, Digital Activism, Health, Humanitarian Response, Youth

At the end of last year, five families decided that visiting Ethiopia with their daughters would be the best way for them to see what their donations to provide fresh, clean and safe water sources were doing to change the lives of families and complete villages. Through their blog and videos, they have been able to share the importance of charity:water [1] in making this possible, and hopefully raise more donations and engage more people to help.

In the Fall of 2008 a major donor to charity: water [1]mentioned that he wanted to take his nine year-old daughter on a trip to Africa. I offered to join them along with my nine-year old daughter, Julia. As so often happens with Scott Harrison [2], the founder of charity: water, the plan got bigger. Within a few weeks we were looking at a trip with five girls and their five fathers. Unfortunately, the original donor had to drop out of the trip and I added my older daughter, Katie. So now five girls, four dads and Scott are heading off to Ethiopia next week. We've armed the girls with four Flip cameras so they can tell us about themselves, can share their journey and can share the stories of the people they meet.

Five for Water [3] is the name of the blog that these families have created as a way to raise awareness of the lives of children in Ethiopia:how clean water may very well be the greatest change they've seen in their lives, and why more people (and schools) should join in the effort.

In the previous video, which can be found on this post [4], young Campbell discovers that children in Ethiopia might have more in common with her than she previously thought: they are seeing the same math that she is.

However, there are some small but significant differences, as another one of the girls, Chloe, wrote [5]:

Later when I was taking pictures of the children at the well, Gebre was telling me that the people did not really understand what camera’s and photographs were. When I showed the children the photo I took of them on the camera display screen, they looked very confused. Gebre told me a story that he took a picture of 3 boys, and showed one of the boys and asked him who was in the picture. The boy said well they are my two friends, but I don’t know who he is (pointing at himself). Of course he would not know what he looks like, as they do not have mirrors, to me I could not understand this, because of course I look in the mirror before I leave the house, to check I do not have toothpaste or breakfast down me. But here that probably would not worry them, but not knowing how you look! Its just so different here its like a separate world.

Or this that Carley wrote [6]:

We visited a school. It was so poor… It was very sad… It made me think how fortunate I am. Most classrooms didn’t have desks, They sat on rocks instead. There was a chalkboard with holes in it…

I went to the library there was about 20 books. Some were story books, but lots of them were about HIV-AIDS.

And Campbell records [4] young girls carrying big jerrycans filled with water, and states that:

Without water, girls often have to walk long distances carrying heavy water. It takes away from homework. Here I met a girl carrying a lot of water yesterday evening.
The number one reason that girls drop out of school is because they don't have clean water or bathrooms.

Getting water to these populations requires donations to cover the digging of wells, and then the actual procedure. In this post and video [7], they explain a how hand-dug wells happen:

There are ways in which you can help, and right around the corner comes the Twestival.

The Twestival [8] is a worldwide festival being organized by groups of users of the popular micro-blogging tool Twitter which will take place on February 12th, with more than 100 cities participating. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to benefit the organization Charity:Water [1], and it has resulted in renewed attention to the problem of water; its scarcity, cleanliness and availability. You can read more about this completely volunteer initiative, and how to help [8]: either by organizing a Twestival in your city, attending one or participating online.

Carrying Water by magnusfranklin

Carrying Water by magnusfranklin [9]