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Water for the Poor -- Establishing 1,000 New Wells in Ethiopia, Africa

Contact: Keith Strawn, 989-667-8850; Blair Foundation, 303-369-7700, ceb@BlairFoundation.com


BENISHANGUL-GUMUZ, ETHIOPIA, AFRICA, Feb. 13 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Blair Foundation announces today, they have accepted the invitation of President Yaregal Aysheshim to establish a well in 1,000 of his poorest villages in Benishangul-Gumuz, Ethiopia. Using a new and innovative technology, The Blair Foundation is drilling wells in villages not accessible by conventional and otherwise expensive drilling rigs. At a cost of $687 per well, this new and cost effective technology will utilize local materials for both the drilling and the construction of the well and pump and covers all materials, labor and training.


According to UNICEF*, Ethiopia is one of the two poorest countries in Africa, in large because only a small percentage of the people have access to safe drinking water. Only 11% of the rural population of Ethiopia has access to improved/safe drinking water, leaving nine out of ten people to drink the same water they use for their livestock and washing.


In Benishangul-Gumuz, people walk long distances, frequently hours, to fetch unsafe water from the nearest river even when there is clean, fresh drinking water directly beneath their feet. Sometimes a small village does combine resources to dig a community well, but it is hand dug and improperly developed, resulting in a contaminated water source that is not any more safe than before.


Gaining access to water while preserving sanitation requires a well and pump. The Blair Foundation is bringing properly developed, drilled wells to remote villages that have never had access to safe drinking water and is relying on the partnership of individual donors and organizations to sponsor the drilling of these new wells. For $687, a sponsor will be sent information about the village and location of his or her well. After it is completed, the sponsor will receive a Well Completion Report, a photograph of the constructed well, and additional information about the village they are impacting. Sponsors are also welcome to visit Ethiopia and help in the construction of the well.


Many organizations have installed wells and pumps not serviceable by the local community members or with special parts and fittings not available to them, resulting in only temporary relief; for all pumps wear out and all wells require maintenance. The Blair Foundation uses only field serviceable pumps made from local materials and they work with and train the local community to maintain their well.


For decades, pictures of the poor and hungry people of Africa have flashed across America's television screens. Drought, famine, and disease have plagued the poverty stricken for generations. Nations have sent billions of dollars in relief, but the problem returns year after year. What is the real solution to this seemingly endless problem? It starts with water, an abundant supply of safe and clean water – and it was there all the time.


* http://www.unicef.org/publications/files/SOWC_2005_(English).pdf