Institute for African Development Outreach Program
Water and Africa: Symbolism and Sustainability
Water issues in Africa encompass many areas including rainfall variability, droughts and floods, geographic conflicts, population boom, and environmental degradation. In many countries, the water problem is the primary reason people are unable to rise out of poverty. Women and children bear the burdens disproportionately, often spending six hours or more each day fetching water for their families and communities.
Program Manager / Outreach Coordinator
Institute for African Development
190 Uris Hall, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
phone: (607) 255-6849
IAD Resources on Water in Africa
The Institute has limited resources on water in Africa. DVDs, CDS and books are available to teachers upon formal request. Items can be picked up from the IAD office (190 Uris Hall) or sent through surface mail.
Water Documents from Africa
The primary African document on water is the Abuja Ministerial Declaration on Water - A Key to Sustainable Development in Africa which was launched at the African Ministerial Conference on Water (AMCOW) in Abuja, Nigeria, April 2002. Forty-five African ministers responsible for water resources in their respective countries met in Abuja, Nigeria to deliberate on the challenges facing the Continent in its water resources sector. From the meeting came the “The Abuja Ministerial Declaration on Water – A Key to Sustainable Development in Africa.” A pdf can be found on the bottom of this page.
"Water as a Human Right – The World Conservation Union" See pdf document at the bottom of this page.
Sacred waters : arts for Mami Wata and other divinities in Africa and the diaspora
Author: Henry John Drewal
Summary: "Sacred Waters focuses on the arts, rituals, and religions associated with Mami Wata and other deities in Africa and its diasporas. - Amazon
The Water Goddess in Igbo Cosmology: Ogbuide of Oguta Lake
Author: Sabine Jell-Bahlsen
Summary: This evocative study of a water Goddess among the Igbo of Lake Oguta in southeastern Nigeria, thoroughly explores the rituals, beliefs and social organization associated with rituals of women's power.
The Water Hole
Author: Graeme Base
Summary: "The Water Hole" is a fusion of counting book, puzzle book, storybook and art book. Graeme Base takes the reader on a journey of discovery, from the plains of Africa and the jungles of the Amazon to the woodlands of North America and the deserts of the Australian outback. As one rhino gives way to two tigers, with three toucans waiting in the wings, the tale unfolds on many levels. Page by page the numbers increase as the animals come to their water hole to drink. - Amazon
Conflicts over land & water in Africa
Authors: William Derman; Rie Odgaard; Espen Sjaastad
Summary: This is an examination of the broader context for the re-emergence of land reform and resource conflicts in Africa. Efforts to change the race based systems of land ownership and land tenure in Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe have pushed land issues to the forefront of social and economic discourses in Africa. This collection examines the broader context for the re- emergence of land reform and resource conflicts. --Amazon
Water, a Source of Life and Culture Project
Water for All contains classroom activities and case studies on a range of water-related issues and their impacts, using Oxfam color photographs. Ideal for teaching 9–13 year olds – try it on your interactive whiteboard!
Water Quiz: Going short of water - Water shortages happen for a reason
Useful for teaching Geography, English, Maths, Science and Citizenship to students aged 9–13
Introduction: About the resource and its use
Water for All is a curriculum-friendly resource containing fresh material that is both challenging and inspirational. It explores the causes of water shortage, challenging the assumption that these things ‘just happen’ in the countries of the South. Instead it asks children to explore the interconnected reasons for such shortage, and the impacts these are likely to have on the lives of real people.
Africa Blogs: Water for Life
Water journalists Africa Blog
The Water Journalists Africa blog was set up in March 2011 under the auspices of UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication. Member journalists have been posting about ten news items a month about African water and sanitation issues.
Size matters: Africa’s water resources
Water Links world wide
Suggested Reading and Research Sources
Water and cultural Diversity - Coordinated by UNESCO/Water Academy, France /
Japan Center for Area Studies - National Museum of Ethnology
Shocking facts about water
1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe water. This is roughly one in eight of the world’s population. In Africa, two out of five people lack clean water. (WHO/UNICEF)
• In the past 10 years, diarrhea has killed more children than all the people lost to armed conflict since World War II.
• The average distance that women in Africa and Asia walk to collect water is six kilometers.
• Tens of millions of children cannot go to school as they must fetch water every day.
• 80 percent of diseases in the developing world are caused by contaminated water
• Water is a $400 billion dollar global industry; the third largest behind electricity and oil.
• It takes 5 liters of water to make 1 liter of bottled water.
• It takes 2,900 gallons of water to produce one quarter pound hamburger (just the meat)
• The water we drink today is the same water the dinosaurs drank—there is no new water.