Beyond2020's sustainable water solutions in Ethiopian villages are improving lives, reducing waterborne diseases, and empowering communities.
Cultures Environment

Beyond2020: Transforming Lives with Sustainable Water

Collaboratively launched by the Zayed Sustainability Prize and its dedicated partners, Beyond2020 has made significant strides in improving access to safe drinking water for underserved communities. One remarkable achievement is the transformation of the lives of 9,000 people residing in the rural villages of Walessa, Holte, and Gato in Dirashe District, Ethiopia. Through the implementation of innovative water solutions, this initiative has not only reduced waterborne diseases but also enhanced overall health and quality of life.

The Beyond2020 initiative found its implementation partner in Solarkiosk Solutions, a German-based company with a strong focus on providing electricity to rural and off-grid communities. This collaboration led to the installation of six shallow wells equipped with solar pumps in Ethiopian villages. The introduction of solar technology has revolutionized the water infrastructure, mitigating the scarcity of safe drinking water that has long plagued these communities. This progressive approach has not only addressed immediate health concerns but also bolstered the foundation for sustainable development in the region.

The significance of the Beyond2020 deployment in Ethiopia extends far beyond mere technological advancements. H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Director General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, and COP28 President-Designate, emphasizes that access to safe water is a fundamental human right. The deployment in Ethiopia exemplifies the power of collaborative efforts to drive meaningful change and combat pressing issues posed by climate change. The results have been transformative, particularly for the people of Dirashe District, who predominantly rely on sustainable agriculture for their livelihood.

The villages of Walessa, Holte, and Gato faced a dire situation characterized by limited access to clean water and a high incidence of waterborne diseases. Unsustainable water sources, such as rainwater and local rivers, contributed to a cycle of poor health and sanitation. The installation of hand-pump wells in 2014 offered temporary relief, but mechanical complexities made maintenance a challenge, ultimately leaving the communities without consistent access to safe water. The innovative retrofitting of these wells with solar pumps has revolutionized their functionality, providing a daily supply of 20,000-25,000 liters of clean drinking water per well.

One notable impact of Beyond2020’s intervention is the reduction in the burden on women and children, who were traditionally responsible for fetching water from distant sources. The previous practice not only consumed hours of their day but also exposed them to various risks, including disease and physical danger. With the advent of solar-powered wells, the time required to fetch water has been drastically reduced to under ten minutes, enabling women and children to engage in education, income-generating activities, and other productive pursuits.

Beyond2020’s mission transcends national boundaries, with a comprehensive approach to sustainable development. The initiative has initiated a total of 15 deployments across various sectors, including energy, health, water, and food-related solutions in countries like Nepal, Tanzania, Uganda, Jordan, Egypt, Cambodia, Madagascar, Indonesia, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Rwanda, Peru, Lebanon, and Sudan. This global reach exemplifies the transformative potential of sustainable initiatives and paves the way for additional deployment opportunities in five more countries.

The Beyond2020 initiative spearheaded by the UAE, in collaboration with the Zayed Sustainability Prize and its partners, stands as a testament to the positive impact of collaborative, sustainable efforts on a global scale. The successful transformation of the water infrastructure in the Dirashe District of Ethiopia showcases the potential to tackle pressing challenges such as water scarcity, health risks, and limited access to resources. As the initiative continues to expand its reach, it serves as a beacon of hope for vulnerable communities worldwide, underscoring the importance of inclusive, equitable, and sustainable development.

Image provided by the Zayed Sustainability Prize

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