Ethiopia (MNN) — It's widely known that Ethiopia and several other Horn of Africa nations were struck with severe drought over the summer. What's not as often discussed is a long-term game plan to water the region.
It has begun to rain in Ethiopia, which certainly helps, especially since crops and cattle have also died in the drought. But Shannon Strossner with Living Water International says that's not enough.
"We are able to see good come through [rain]; however, the rainwater often will contaminate broken-down wells. So rain isn't the solution." Instead, Strossner explains, "They need a safe field water source."
LWI plans to build wells throughout Ethiopia to help. "We really want to act as a facilitator of water solution where we can work with communities that lack access to safe water, and empower them to be part of their own water solution."
Safe drinking water will be a life-saving gift in and of itself, but Strossner says it will quench much more than physical thirst.
"Without safe water, absolutely no development can take place. It's a starting point for life, and it's also a vehicle for education, for opportunity, sanitation, economic development," says Strossner. "There's just so much that takes place when you can provide clean, safe water."
For one thing, it puts an end to "time poverty," Strossner says. "Approximately 40 billion hours each year are wasted because people are walking to get unclean water."
When LWI puts in a well, it's often built near a school so children don't have to leave their studies to gather water every day. Mothers have so much more time available when there is a local water source; they can start small businesses and start to move away from poverty. Disease rates go down.
And it's not just for a 25-person village. Most wells serve anywhere from 200 to 2,000 people.
The life change that is offered by a simple well allows LWI the opportunity to share more about the Living Water for which they're named, Jesus Christ. Strossner says as LWI meets peoples' most basic needs as Christ commands, doors open to share about this loving Savior.
Building a well typically isn't cheap, but help is available through a new partnership. Envirocon Technologies, Inc. has offered a matching grant to help LWI build wells in southern Ethiopia. "We're looking at anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 that will flow to Ethiopia. It's going to equate to roughly 7-10 water projects. 7-10 new communities in Ethiopia that don't have water now will, thanks to their support."
For every donation made by customers or others who want to get involved, Envirocon is matching the gift dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000. Learn more at projects.LemiShine.com.