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WaterAid representative from Ethiopia visits Yorkshire

Yorkshire Water welcomed the visit of a WaterAid representative from Ethiopia today, who was given a tour around the company’s key sites in Sheffield and Bradford.

Behailu Shiferaw, 34, is a WaterAid Voices from the Field Officer based in Ethiopia and visited the company to learn more about its water supply and treatment processes.

With 67 million people living without sanitation and 33,000 children under the age of five dying from diarrhoea every year, Ethiopia’s water supply and sanitation coverage is amongst the lowest in the world.

As a Voices from the Field Officer, Behailu’s job is to bring WaterAid’s numerous water projects in Ethiopia to life, through interviews, film and photography.

The specially planned visit involved Behailu having a tour of the company’s state-of-the-art Staveley Waste Water Treatment Works in Chesterfield and Esholt Waste Water Treatment Works in Bradford.

Year 12 Applied Science students from Pudsey Grangefield School also met with Behailu and received a tour of the Esholt site to learn more about the water treatment process.

Behailu Shiferaw said: “My visit to Yorkshire Water has made me appreciate the huge difference between water provision and treatment in the UK and Ethiopia,  that I hope will soon be bridged. An unlimited supply of clean and safe water is taken for granted in the UK, but back home in Ethiopia many people have to still get their drinking water from contaminated rivers and water courses. Here in the UK, there are high-tech water treatment processes in place, but in Ethiopia we have no such facilities to treat waste water and turn it safely back to the environment.”

Erica Lack, a WaterAid ambassador for Yorkshire Water, said: “We realise that as one of the leading water companies in the world, we have a responsibility to help deliver global safe water to the poorest communities in the world.

“The lack of clean water and sanitation in Ethiopia is something we want to rectify and as such we have launched a ‘Big Wish’ campaign that aims to raise £1m. This money will then be invested by WaterAid to help bring clean water to 130,000 people in the country, bringing improved access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene promotion.”

Yorkshire Water recently sent three of its staff to Ethiopia, including water quality scientist Anna Warrington from Denholme, to help improve the skills of workers in its under-developed water industry.

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