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“It is a great challenge accessing safe water for household use.” - Birtukan

Bensa region, Ethiopia

GPS: 6.5, 38.833
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  • Bensa, Ethiopia
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Your gift provides a safe water source, health training, and hope to women like Birtukan living in Bensa.

Birtukan’s Life in Bensa, Ethiopia

March 2022

In Bensa, Ethiopia, nearly three-quarters of the population is using an unsafe and unreliable source for water, and this largely impacts children.

Most people in Birtukan’s village specifically feel that there is a serious problem in finding and retrieving water for their families. Village members get their water from a nearby spring located at the bottom of a small but steep cliff. The cliffside leading to the spring is often slippery, making it difficult to carry heavy jugs of water once they have been filled. 

Even if village members are successful in carrying their water cans up the cliff, the water they fetch is contaminated by livestock and sediment. Not only is this water unpleasant to drink, it is also unsafe.

In the dry season from January to April, this spring runs dry, and families are left with even longer trips to find water. 

Birtukan carries the responsibility of taking care of her home, cleaning the house, cooking, tending to the livestock, and fetching water. Out of necessity, her children have to help her fetch water, which causes them to miss school due to the long trips they have to make and the long lines they must stand in. 

Marta, Birtukan’s oldest daughter, frequently misses class due to fetching water, and she has been repeatedly reprimanded by the School Director. As well, she often receives low marks on her exams because she misses instruction frequently. 

Birtukan’s children mentioned that safe water near home will allow them to succeed in school, allow their family to save more money, and will overall make their life more peaceful. 

When you give safe water, you give to families just like Birtukan’s in Bensa, Ethiopia. You enable them to focus on their families, their businesses, and their children’s education.

 

About the Region

Bensa, Ethiopia

 

Bensa, Ethiopia is home to 210,000 people. 

In Bensa, a majority of families rely on agriculture—largely coffee production—for their income, and 38 percent of the population that Lifewater serves has never gone to school. 

80 percent of the population is unsatisfied with their water situation. The average journey to retrieve water is nearly an hour, and women and children often travel dangerous paths to unprotected springs or rivers with long lines. 

The contaminated water is dangerous for everyone, particularly children under the age of five years old because their immune systems are still developing, and they aren’t able to fight illnesses like adults.

The good news is, this is entirely preventable. Lifewater’s work in the surrounding area shows that waterborne illness can be nearly eliminated with basic access to things like safe drinking water, proper sanitation, and washing hands with soap.

Children in Bensa need your help. Give safe water to Bensa today.

Am I sponsoring a specific village?

No. Your gift will help provide safe drinking water and improved sanitation and hygiene for the Bensa region rather than one specific village, making it possible for Lifewater to reach families like this one as well as their neighbors.

Will I receive updates?

Yes! You can expect regular updates on progress in the Bensa region. And, when the communities in the region are transformed with safe water, you’ll receive a story and photos from a family whose life is changed because of your gift.

Can I visit programs and/or my sponsored water project?

Lifewater has local staff that live and serve among the communities and schools where Lifewater works. Our staff know the language and the culture and are best equipped to serve communities. Because we seek to ensure sustainable water projects and community buy in, we do not allow donors to visit the projects they sponsor. However, we do commit to sending real-time updates, photos, and stories from the projects themselves.

Where does Lifewater work?

With more than 45 years’ experience, Lifewater is the longest-running Christian clean water charity in North America. Over those 45 years, Lifewater has worked in more than 45 different countries. Currently, our work is focused in Sub-Saharan Africa (Ethiopia, Uganda, and Tanzania) and Southeast Asia (Cambodia).

Why these countries and regions?

Lifewater identifies countries and regions that are unreached and underserved with basic water access and sanitation, which means we focus on areas where other organizations are not serving.

Although great strides have been made in the past 20 years to solve the global water crisis, remote and rural populations still remain unreached with adequate water and sanitation. These distant regions are difficult and often costly for governments and NGOs to serve well. Many of these communities feel as though they have been forgotten.

Can I request a water project in a specific country?

Currently, Lifewater has programs in Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, and Cambodia. You can go to lifewater.org/projects to select a specific water project to help. Because our programs are regionalized and made in partnership with the local governments, we are not able to take requests for specific water projects outside of our existing programs.

What percent of funds go towards programs?

Lifewater budgets 80% of expenditures for programs. The remaining 20% is split between administrative/management and fundraising expenses. This ratio is best in class for nonprofits and is why Lifewater has received the highest rating from Charity Navigator.

Administrative/management expenses are used to ensure that we are effective in managing the funds entrusted to us and include the following types of expenses: accounting personnel, leadership time, professional development of staff, external auditors, legal counsel, government registration expenses in every U.S. state, credit card fees for processing donations, bank fees, database maintenance, and office expenses.

Fundraising expenses generate the income needed to do the work that we set out to do. These include the cost of direct mail appeals and communication, marketing projects, donor relations personnel, and email communication systems. Last year, every dollar invested into Lifewater fundraising efforts resulted in $10 of donation for the organization.

Is Lifewater approved/vetted by 3rd party organizations?

Over our 45 year history, Lifewater has received the highest accreditations from the most respected rating organization in the industry. Lifewater is recognized as one of the top-rated charities in the United States by independent reporting organizations, including:

Charity Navigator (four stars)
Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)
Guidestar (Platinum)
Great Nonprofits (five star)
Excellence in Giving
Learn more at https://lifewater.org/top-rated-charity.

How does Lifewater integrate faith into its work?

Lifewater’s work is founded on the belief that every person is made in the image of God. It is with this conviction that we seek out the globe’s most unreached, marginalized people groups in need of safe water.

Both nationally and internationally, 100 percent of our staff are Christians. These Christian staff help facilitate Lifewater’s Healthy Church strategy in communities. And, where there are no churches, we work with church planting partners to start new churches.

To create Healthy Churches, Lifewater first trains church leaders in foundational theology. These leaders are equipped with the basic story of the Christian faith and the biblical mandate to love others. Leaders learn that stopping the spread of disease and caring for the vulnerable aligns with our responsibility as Christians to love our neighbor.

Second, Lifewater ensures churches have safe bathrooms on their premises, handwashing stations, clean water nearby, and the education to promote health within their congregations. It’s imperative that churches are early adopters of healthy hygiene practices.

Third, Lifewater encourages churches to help vulnerable households become Healthy Homes. Church leaders undergo a training to become WASH (water access, sanitation, and hygiene) advocates in their communities. These advocates are encouraged to identify widows, child-headed households, the elderly, and the disabled to help them meet the health standards of Lifewater’s programs.

What is Lifewater’s process? What does the organization do, and how does it do it?

Lifewater’s Vision of a Healthy Village strategy is a relationship-first method. This model transforms entire regions house by house, village by village, and school by school. It is among the most intensive household-level work happening in the entire developing world and is closely tracked for progress, sustainability, and overall impact.

We construct custom-engineered safe water sources and teach life-saving health and sanitation practices in local villages and schools in need.

Story

Your gift provides a safe water source, health training, and hope to women like Birtukan living in Bensa.

Birtukan’s Life in Bensa, Ethiopia

March 2022

In Bensa, Ethiopia, nearly three-quarters of the population is using an unsafe and unreliable source for water, and this largely impacts children.

Most people in Birtukan’s village specifically feel that there is a serious problem in finding and retrieving water for their families. Village members get their water from a nearby spring located at the bottom of a small but steep cliff. The cliffside leading to the spring is often slippery, making it difficult to carry heavy jugs of water once they have been filled. 

Even if village members are successful in carrying their water cans up the cliff, the water they fetch is contaminated by livestock and sediment. Not only is this water unpleasant to drink, it is also unsafe.

In the dry season from January to April, this spring runs dry, and families are left with even longer trips to find water. 

Birtukan carries the responsibility of taking care of her home, cleaning the house, cooking, tending to the livestock, and fetching water. Out of necessity, her children have to help her fetch water, which causes them to miss school due to the long trips they have to make and the long lines they must stand in. 

Marta, Birtukan’s oldest daughter, frequently misses class due to fetching water, and she has been repeatedly reprimanded by the School Director. As well, she often receives low marks on her exams because she misses instruction frequently. 

Birtukan’s children mentioned that safe water near home will allow them to succeed in school, allow their family to save more money, and will overall make their life more peaceful. 

When you give safe water, you give to families just like Birtukan’s in Bensa, Ethiopia. You enable them to focus on their families, their businesses, and their children’s education.

Bensa, Ethiopia

 

About the Region

Bensa, Ethiopia

 

Bensa, Ethiopia is home to 210,000 people. 

In Bensa, a majority of families rely on agriculture—largely coffee production—for their income, and 38 percent of the population that Lifewater serves has never gone to school. 

80 percent of the population is unsatisfied with their water situation. The average journey to retrieve water is nearly an hour, and women and children often travel dangerous paths to unprotected springs or rivers with long lines. 

The contaminated water is dangerous for everyone, particularly children under the age of five years old because their immune systems are still developing, and they aren’t able to fight illnesses like adults.

The good news is, this is entirely preventable. Lifewater’s work in the surrounding area shows that waterborne illness can be nearly eliminated with basic access to things like safe drinking water, proper sanitation, and washing hands with soap.

Children in Bensa need your help. Give safe water to Bensa today.

FAQ's

Am I sponsoring a specific village?

No. Your gift will help provide safe drinking water and improved sanitation and hygiene for the Bensa region rather than one specific village, making it possible for Lifewater to reach families like this one as well as their neighbors.

Will I receive updates?

Yes! You can expect regular updates on progress in the Bensa region. And, when the communities in the region are transformed with safe water, you’ll receive a story and photos from a family whose life is changed because of your gift.

Can I visit programs and/or my sponsored water project?

Lifewater has local staff that live and serve among the communities and schools where Lifewater works. Our staff know the language and the culture and are best equipped to serve communities. Because we seek to ensure sustainable water projects and community buy in, we do not allow donors to visit the projects they sponsor. However, we do commit to sending real-time updates, photos, and stories from the projects themselves.

Where does Lifewater work?

With more than 45 years’ experience, Lifewater is the longest-running Christian clean water charity in North America. Over those 45 years, Lifewater has worked in more than 45 different countries. Currently, our work is focused in Sub-Saharan Africa (Ethiopia, Uganda, and Tanzania) and Southeast Asia (Cambodia).

Why these countries and regions?

Lifewater identifies countries and regions that are unreached and underserved with basic water access and sanitation, which means we focus on areas where other organizations are not serving.

Although great strides have been made in the past 20 years to solve the global water crisis, remote and rural populations still remain unreached with adequate water and sanitation. These distant regions are difficult and often costly for governments and NGOs to serve well. Many of these communities feel as though they have been forgotten.

Can I request a water project in a specific country?

Currently, Lifewater has programs in Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, and Cambodia. You can go to lifewater.org/projects to select a specific water project to help. Because our programs are regionalized and made in partnership with the local governments, we are not able to take requests for specific water projects outside of our existing programs.

What percent of funds go towards programs?

Lifewater budgets 80% of expenditures for programs. The remaining 20% is split between administrative/management and fundraising expenses. This ratio is best in class for nonprofits and is why Lifewater has received the highest rating from Charity Navigator.

Administrative/management expenses are used to ensure that we are effective in managing the funds entrusted to us and include the following types of expenses: accounting personnel, leadership time, professional development of staff, external auditors, legal counsel, government registration expenses in every U.S. state, credit card fees for processing donations, bank fees, database maintenance, and office expenses.

Fundraising expenses generate the income needed to do the work that we set out to do. These include the cost of direct mail appeals and communication, marketing projects, donor relations personnel, and email communication systems. Last year, every dollar invested into Lifewater fundraising efforts resulted in $10 of donation for the organization.

Is Lifewater approved/vetted by 3rd party organizations?

Over our 45 year history, Lifewater has received the highest accreditations from the most respected rating organization in the industry. Lifewater is recognized as one of the top-rated charities in the United States by independent reporting organizations, including:

Charity Navigator (four stars)
Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)
Guidestar (Platinum)
Great Nonprofits (five star)
Excellence in Giving
Learn more at https://lifewater.org/top-rated-charity.

How does Lifewater integrate faith into its work?

Lifewater’s work is founded on the belief that every person is made in the image of God. It is with this conviction that we seek out the globe’s most unreached, marginalized people groups in need of safe water.

Both nationally and internationally, 100 percent of our staff are Christians. These Christian staff help facilitate Lifewater’s Healthy Church strategy in communities. And, where there are no churches, we work with church planting partners to start new churches.

To create Healthy Churches, Lifewater first trains church leaders in foundational theology. These leaders are equipped with the basic story of the Christian faith and the biblical mandate to love others. Leaders learn that stopping the spread of disease and caring for the vulnerable aligns with our responsibility as Christians to love our neighbor.

Second, Lifewater ensures churches have safe bathrooms on their premises, handwashing stations, clean water nearby, and the education to promote health within their congregations. It’s imperative that churches are early adopters of healthy hygiene practices.

Third, Lifewater encourages churches to help vulnerable households become Healthy Homes. Church leaders undergo a training to become WASH (water access, sanitation, and hygiene) advocates in their communities. These advocates are encouraged to identify widows, child-headed households, the elderly, and the disabled to help them meet the health standards of Lifewater’s programs.

What is Lifewater’s process? What does the organization do, and how does it do it?

Lifewater’s Vision of a Healthy Village strategy is a relationship-first method. This model transforms entire regions house by house, village by village, and school by school. It is among the most intensive household-level work happening in the entire developing world and is closely tracked for progress, sustainability, and overall impact.

We construct custom-engineered safe water sources and teach life-saving health and sanitation practices in local villages and schools in need.

Your gift reflects your trust in Lifewater International. We commit to honor your generosity by using your gift to help further the mission and vision of Lifewater International. Your donation is used by Lifewater International according to the project objectives to provide safe drinking water and improved sanitation and hygiene within the specified program area. Lifewater International is a charitable organization as described in 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, registered in the United States. All donations are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

Donations are non-refundable. Lifewater International will honor a donor’s request for any pre-approved program or project whenever possible. In rare occasions where this is not possible, gifts will be used where needed, in accordance with the organization’s charitable purpose. In accordance with this policy, donor’s explicitly release Lifewater International from further restriction on such funds.