The Water Crisis in Africa is among one of the most severe emergencies facing the continent today. Approximately 748 million people around the world lack access to safe drinking water. The crisis is especially dire in sub-Saharan African countries such as Liberia, Ghana, Somalia, Nigeria, and Sudan. Women and young girls in Africa often have to travel long distances (about 3.5 miles daily on average) to collect large amounts of water (up to 40 pounds) and carry them back to their homes. They can often become victims of abuse, including sexual assault. Girls’ education also frequently suffers as a result of their time spent collecting water.
Additionally, tens of thousands of Africans die every year due to improper sanitation and diseases like cholera, hepatitis, malaria, and dysentery brought about by water contaminated with bacteria. Of these, up to 90 percent are children under the age of five. Add in factors such as high temperatures and low levels of rainfall, corrupt governments and high levels of conflict — especially given the fact that water is unequally distributed between urban areas and rural communities — and Africa’s water crisis is among the most dire issues of today’s world.
Steps Taken to End the Water Crisis
Among the primary major advancements that have been made to address the water crisis in Africa are the construction and installation of projects like wells, dams, pumps, and rain catchment tanks and nets (and other drip irrigation methods for harvesting water), especially in overpopulated rural areas. Protecting springs is also a solution that has been increasingly used. In some cases, villages or specific families can be sponsored as well.
Different types of fundraisers can also help stop the water crisis. These include online crowdfunding campaigns, sports fundraisers, birthday fundraisers, and holiday fundraisers. Social media has also proven to be a hugely effective tool to spread and promote awareness of the poor sanitation infrastructure present in many African countries. Hashtags, videos and photos can all help diffuse information about the many different types of communities affected by water scarcity and how they can be served.
Another way the crisis has been mitigated is through community engagement efforts and education on clean water-related topics like hand-washing, proper use of latrines and other fundamental hygiene habits. This is essential to optimizing the advantages of a new well. A May 2018 report from The Guardian revealed that limiting toilet flushing, reusing shower water and night-time irrigation were among the steps emphasized in Cape Town, South Africa, to save water. This campaign resulted in the city’s water use decreasing from 600 million litres per day in mid-2017 to 507 million litres per day in April 2018.
Finally, another main solution to tackling the water crisis in Africa involves bringing faith to countries in the continent by preaching the Gospel, for example. Many nations in Africa are Christian and rely heavily on faith in their daily life, so helping Africans remain at peace by relaying God’s words and praying can be an immensely powerful way to alleviate the distress they feel due to water scarcity.
Experts have also stressed the importance of developing energy-efficient (solar-powered) desalination plants and promoting greater research to come up with more innovative solutions to end water scarcity in Africa and around the world. For instance, urban areas that operate sewage treatment plants can sometimes partner with clean energy organizations to fertilize biofuel crops with wastewater. The symptoms of climate change — including higher temperatures and rising sea levels — should also be factored into strategies for addressing water shortages.
How to Help End the Water Crisis in Africa
Contact The Last Well to learn more about different ways to end the water crisis in Africa, including donations, fundraisers, and contributing to water projects.
This non-profit based in Rockwall, Texas, has as its main mission to provide safe drinking water and the Gospel to the entire nation of Liberia by the end of 2020. You can help eliminate water scarcity in sub-Saharan Africa by making a donation via cash or check, starting a foundation, starting fundraisers at your school or company or by sponsoring a family or village. Following The Last Well on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube) and sharing information on these platforms is also a great way to contribute to ending water scarcity in Africa.
You can also become more directly involved by helping with projects like building a well or a dam in an overpopulated rural community. In Liberia, the average cost per well for The Last Well is $3,000. Each well constructed in Africa serves about 2,000 people and lasts roughly 20 years.
The Last Well also partners with Amazon for the AmazonSmile campaign, and also boasts partnerships with organizations like Assembly of God, CHRISEM, Water4, Walls & Wells, and World Hope International.