Rotarian, and WaterCan Executive Director, Gary Pluim cuts the ribbon to open a new water station and library. Rotary Club Ottawa South combines literacy and water in Ethiopia.
In Ethiopia, over 80% of people lack access to clean water and improved sanitation, and 64% of the population is illiterate. A lack of resources at schools and high rates of absenteeism are just two of the major factors contributing to these appalling statistics. According to UNESCO, 'only integrated approaches can remove the structural barriers that keep children out of school." With this in mind, the Ottawa South Rotary Club, in partnership with two Canadian organizations, WaterCan and CODE, and two Ethiopian development organizations, is supporting a project at Atse Lebnedengel Primary School in the capital city Addis Ababa to address both education and water. By March 2010, over 800 students and teachers and 23,000 members of the surrounding community will be challenging the norm in Ethiopia. As a result of studying and learning at the new community library that houses over 3000 books and is staffed by newly trained librarians, as well as benefiting from improved access to clean water and sanitation and training in health and hygiene, lives are being transformed, one school at a time.