There have been water problems in Africa for many, many years. The problems are not as bad now as they used to be, but they are still very bad and definitely worth discussing. Those of us who have access to clean drinking water every day probably take it for granted, compared to others. What if you had to walk 5 to 10 miles a day to fetch up to 45 pounds of water each and every day? It would be very difficult. What many people don’t realize is many of the women in Africa still have to do that on a daily basis just to have water for their families to drink and use. In this article, we are going to take a look at the water crisis in Africa along with what women and female children have to endure every single day.
The Lack of Water in Africa
One of the more heart breaking facts about the water crisis in Africa is that two out of every five people in the country lack clean water to drink or use for cooking. That’s why so many die from dehydration. If families are lucky enough to have water, many of them become poisoned by it because often times the water they are drinking is contaminated. Also by drinking dirty, contaminated water, many will develop diarrhea drinking it which later leads to dehydration and death. There are close to 1 billion people who live in Africa, and 300 million of those live in places where water is scarce. There have been many investments in water resources that have helped the water problems in Africa, but as you can see, there is still a long way to go.
The Fetching of Water
Most women and female children in Africa will walk for miles each day just to fetch water. Sometimes they will have to walk anywhere from 5 – 15 miles a day, one way, just to fetch water for the rest of the family, or village. The women and children fetch up to 50 pounds of water a day, per person, and carry it back to their village. The women and children who are fetching the water usually carry it on their heads for added strength and support. Have you ever seen in movies when people carry jugs of water on their heads? Well, this is everyday real life for some of those living in Africa. Water in Africa is scarce and for most of them to live, the routine daily fetching of water must be done. It is not an option and you will never hear any of them complaining about it.
In some parts of Africa, women will spend up to 6 hours a day fetching water and firewood to cook with. Then they will spend another 4 – 5 hours preparing meals for everyone to eat. 90% of the water fetching, firewood fetching and the cooking is done by women. In some parts of Africa, women will spend up to 8 hours a day fetching water; whereas in Egypt, it takes women only about an hour.
Damages Caused by Fetching Water Daily
Women and female children do a lot for their families and villages but doing these daily chores has their own consequences. Many women who gather water, firewood and harvest the crops are often left permanently damaged from the heavy and hard labor. For example, women who carry 50 pounds of water on their heads every day will suffer from spinal deformities. Think of all that pressure they have on their spines. Many also suffer from pelvic deformities as well. Women who are pregnant still have to do these daily chores as well. This causes much harm not only to the women, but to their unborn child. Often times, these women will have a miscarriage or die due to premature labor and not being able to give birth. As you can see, the water crisis in Africa affects communities directly, and indirectly.
Helping with the Water Crisis in Africa
Every day there are missions from churches all over the world going to Africa to help with the water crisis. These missions have raised money to help install water systems and other resources that will provide communities with clean drinking water. If you would like to help with the water problems in Africa, ask around your area or do a search online and see if you can find some mission groups near you who are raising money to help those in need.