Prayer Updates
Africa Europe
Ethiopia Water Project (92219)
A woman stands beside a muddy spring where she draws water
Unsafe drinking water is the
leading cause of infant mortality
in Ethiopia

Water-borne disease is the number one cause of infant mortality in Ethiopia. About 300,000 children under the age of five die every year in Ethiopia—the majority due to diseases transmitted through unsafe water. It is estimated that over eighty percent of Ethiopians lack a source of safe water. This is one of the in the worst rates in the world.

The Ethiopia Water Program is helping communities to secure safe sources of drinking water. As part of holistic Christian ministry, the program helps communities to design, build and sustain their own solutions to water access and related health issues. Spring capping, hand dug wells, catchments, gravity fed pipeline distribution systems are common types of water supplies constructed under this project.

We keep our water projects simple and reliable. Most rural Ethiopians are subsistence farmers who own only three tools: a hand plow, a hoe for cultivating, and a sickle for reaping. With rural families like these being the caretakers of completed water projects, it makes little sense building water supply systems that have motorized pumps, complex valves, or other difficult to repair parts. We help communities build projects that they can completely care for by themselves.

Two girls drawing clean water
Now that the spring has been
capped, these girls have access
to clean drinking water.

The design and construction aspect of our water program is often the easiest part of our water ministry. The biggest challenge is mobilizing the local community. Helping communities develop the skills and organization needed for solving their own problems is our ultimate goal. We could build water projects faster if we just did all the work ourselves. It might even cost less, but because it is more important to train communities to solve their own problems, we take a lot of time helping them plan and organize their own water project.

Sometimes we enter a community and we are shocked by the lack of concern about the dirty mud holes used for drinking water. "Our fathers drank this water and I have drunk from it for years, so how can it be that bad?" is a common remark we hear. Our local associated community health ministry spends countless hours educating people about hygiene, water borne pathogens, and sanitation, but it has sometimes been an uphill battle to change long held beliefs. The good news is that we now average three communities per month inquiring about spring protection where it used to be about two per year. Changing communities does not come overnight, but we are encouraged with the continuing progress of our work!


Currently SIM is in urgent need of those with training and experience as engineers (civil, agricultural, mechanical); or in construction (concrete or general construction) and project management. A background in international development is helpful. For those with less experience but with a desire to learn, a two-month internship is available. All positions are integrated with evangelism, discipleship and church planting to meet the needs of communities who thirst spiritually as well as physically. Currently we need a Borana Water Developer. You may also check out our opportunities list for Ethiopia.



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