top of page

Where We Work


Map of Ethiopia

View Photo Gallery

Located in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia is a prominent and strategically located nation that has become a major player in African affairs. With the second largest population on the continent, Ethiopia boasts unparalleled ethnic and linguistic diversity.

Ethiopia has made significant strides in its social and economic development since the world’s attention focused on its terrible plight during the 1984-85 famine. Despite strong commitment to its national poverty reduction plan the country still contends with shockingly low water and sanitation coverage rates. Only 22% of the population has access to clean water, and a mere 13% have access to basic sanitation facilities. WaterCan has been working to bring clean water, basic sanitation and hygiene promotion to Ethiopian communities since 1988.

WaterCan’s Indigenous Partner Organizations

Read more about WaterCan’s unique partnership approach that works to empower local organizations!

Basic Facts

Countries: Ethiopia Canada
Population (million): 79 32
Child Mortality (under 5 years)
per 1,000 live births:
164 6
Average life expectancy (years): 52 80
Water supply coverage: 22% 100%
Sanitation coverage: 13% 100%
Physicians (per 100,000 people): 3 214
GDP per capita (US$): 157 34,484
UN Human Development Index Rank
(out of 177 countries):
169th 4th


Back to top

Success Story

Elizabeth Mekonnen, WaterCan's Ethiopian Country Advisor
Meet Elizabeth Mekonnen, WaterCan’s Ethiopian Country Advisor

Success Story

Bringing Clean Water and Hope to the Bachoo District, Ethiopia

By George Yap, Program Director

Sanitation facilities in Ethiopia

If one were to visit a typical "health post" in rural Africa, water and sanitation-related diseases like diarrhea and intestinal worms would likely be among the top three reported illnesses. If this facility had a ward, at least half of the beds would be occupied by patients suffering from water-related diseases.
Read more

Give Water, Give Life
  • The dwellings shown are typical of those found throughout Ethiopia.
  • Erecting fences around new wells, such as the one shown here in Kara, help to protect the water source from contamination by animals.
  • Placing special focus on children, WaterCan is presently assisting 37 primary schools, representing over 23,500 students and their teachers.
  • A young boy savors the taste of fresh, clean water from a WaterCan-supported well in Bachoo District, Ethiopia.
  • Laundry day. All WaterCan projects incorporate culturally-appropriate hygiene education programs that aim of improve hygiene practices and general health of local communities.
  • Easily accessible, clean, safe drinking water significantly reduces the amount of time women and girls spend fetching water, thereby freeing up time to pursue other important activities such as attending school.
  • A little helper assists with washing clothes at the community wash-basins built next to the newly established well in Meskan District.
  • Regular hand washing reduces death of common water and sanitation related diseases by 40%.
  • WaterCan’s local COWDO partner representative consults community members on a Meskan District water and sanitation project. WaterCan believes that local participation lies at the heart of effective international development projects.
  • WaterCan projects are particularly beneficial to women, as they are generally the ones responsible for walking miles to collect water for domestic use.
  • Locals traveling by horseback.
  • The Ethiopian landscape is heavily cultivated, but the distribution of existing water sources remains a challenge.
  • A local woman preparing traditional Ethiopian coffee.
  • Community members, including men, women and children, assist with the preparation of cement rings to be lowered into a hand-dug well under construction. Community participation helps to ensure sustainability of WaterCan’s projects.
  • This new communal borehole well provides hundreds living in Bachoo District with a safe, accessible and sustainable water source.
  • Local girls quenching their thirst at a community spring scheme in Kalu.
  • The smiles on these children’s faces tell the whole story.
  • Children in the Meskan District where WaterCan presently supports 6 Clean Water for Schools projects demonstrate how they would carry jerry-cans of water from nearby streams to their school prior to WaterCan’s intervention.
  • Clean safe water will help this young boy in Kalu grow healthy and strong. 5000 children, who aren’t as lucky, will die of preventable water and sanitation related diseases today.
  • Drilling this deep borehole well in Urago, Ethiopia, will provide hundreds of women, men and children in this rural community with access to clean, safe drinking water.
WaterCan on YouTubeWaterCan on FaceBook
© WaterCan / EauVive, 321 Chapel Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 7Z2 Telephone: 613. 230. 5182 Toll-Free: 1.800.370.5658