From the Field

Safe Water Improves Education. Education Reduces Poverty.

Published June 5th, 2017 in From the Field

Education reduces poverty–studies have shown that education is an essential step along the path out of poverty worldwide. People experience an 8.3% increase in household earnings for every additional year of school. Education is linked to greater household income, longer and healthier life, and increased community participation and leadership.

But education is out of reach for millions of kids with no access to water and sanitation. They, and their families, are stuck in a cycle of poor health, missed education, and poverty.

We are changing that.

Send Children Back to School In Ethiopia >

Safe Water Opens Three Grades in Ethiopia

The change can already be seen in West Arsi, Ethiopia, where Lifewater is working with schools, communities, and local governments to install sources of safe drinking water, blocks of hygienic latrines for boys and girls, and a knowledge base that encourages lifelong health.

At the graduation event at the Illu Dhiha Primary School in Jafaro this year, the district education office announced the addition of three grade levels beginning September 2017. This means three more years of education for local children. Before, if a child wanted any education past primary school (about 5th grade), he or she would need to leave home and attend a boarding school far away. Very few could afford it.

Now, parents’ dreams for providing an education for their children are coming true.

Education reduces poverty in Ethiopia
A new well for Illu Dhiha Primary School

The district education representative explained that this school upgrade is a result of the safe water and VIP latrines installed with Lifewater’s help. (These facilities are among the requirements for schools to be upgraded to a higher level.) The district representative added, “We thank Lifewater and God for enabling the people to become healthy… March [used to be] a peak month for severe diarrhea outbreaks in many Kebeles [towns] in the Kokosa District, which is now and as of now will be a history.”

“We thank Lifewater and God for enabling the people to become healthy.”

Education Reduces Poverty

The addition of three grade levels at Illu Dhiha Primary School is confirmation the Lifewater Healthy Schools program is making an impact.  Lifewater helps schools establish a safe water source, build dignifying latrines for students and staff, create handwashing stations and preserve a clean school compound.  Plus, Lifewater establishes school-based WASH Clubs that uses peer-to-peer contacts to help kids stay health and in school. Since the work always involves parent groups and local government, the improvements multiply and become self-sustaining. Safe water, sanitation and hygiene lead to improved education, and education reduces poverty, breaking the cycle that often lasts for generations.

Congratulations to the graduates of Illu Dhiha! See you again in the fall.

You can reduce poverty with the gift of clean water.

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