The Water1st Ethiopia Water Tour departs February 12. Travelers, including Seattle Reign FC players and Water1st Global Fellows, will experience the water crisis firsthand and meet the people and projects we support.

Seattle – Water1st International is excited to announce a new partnership with professional women’s soccer team Seattle Reign FC. In addition to announcing the new partnership, Water1st is looking forward to its upcoming inaugural Global Fellows field seminar in Ethiopia. A unique field education and global development effort, Seattle high school youth in the Global Fellows program will be joined by Reign FC’s players in Ethiopia February 12 for an intensive global Development seminar on public health, community-led development, economics, technology, water system & toilet design, gender issues, fundraising, and the history and culture of Ethiopia. Reign FC players Elli Reed (#7) and Lauren Barnes (#3) will be joining the Global Fellows, Water1st staff and Reign FC owner Teresa Predmore on the trip.

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“It is easy to forget how many of our world’s poorest girls have no access to a clean and convenient water supply,” said Teresa Predmore, owner of Seattle Reign FC. “We cannot accept that these girls will spend their lives hauling water for five hours a day instead of spending time in a classroom. There are so many ways that we can work together to make a difference in gender equality and opportunities around the world – partnering with Water1st is exciting because we can not only help build water infrastructure and learn about different cultures, but we can bring back what our players have learned to Seattle to support Water1st’s long-term leadership in global health. I am honored to partner with Water1st and applaud the students participating in their inaugural Global Fellows program.”

Seattle Reign FC and Water1st International are strengthening their partnership in 2016 following on successful recent efforts. In 2015, Reign FC sponsored Carry5 Walk for Water – Reign players walked alongside 800 Seattleites, carrying water in solidarity with women and girls around the world who need clean water. Additionally, the Reign hosted “Water1st Night” at Memorial Stadium. 2016 holds new and exciting opportunities for the Reign FC and Water1st partnership, building on players traveling alongside Global Fellows in Ethiopia.

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The Global Fellows program is Water1st’s latest effort to broaden the reach and depth of their mission to transform the lives of people by providing clean water, a toilet and hygiene using a sustainable model based on local partnerships for the long-term. Worldwide, 35-50% of water projects fail within the first five years. Water1st projects are different – they last.

“I am incredibly excited to see Water1st in action in Ethiopia,” said Emily Piette of SAAS High School in Seattle. “Being a part of the Global Fellows program has taught me more about the water crisis, and how it keeps people in the cycle of poverty and promotes gender inequality. It really struck a nerve in me with how something as simple and abundant as water can inflict disease on millions, and be what I feel is the basis of global gender inequality. Water1st is an organization that has been very successful with their water projects, and I am excited to  see firsthand their water project model that has freed so many women and girls from walking for water, allowing them to receive an education, enabling them many opportunities.”

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Travelers will be visiting Water1st projects in Dawa Woreda, Ethiopia. An extremely poor region in Ethiopia that has received very little investment from the government for basic infrastructure, about 10 percent of the people living in this region have access to clean water and only 7 percent have a sanitary toilet. The site, located just west of the Ethiopian capital city Addis Ababa, is part of an effort with Water1st’s Ethiopian partner, Water Action, and the local government to achieve universal access to clean water and toilets in all 17 communities within the district. Water1st has completed five community-scale water projects in the district and has begun work on its sixth water project in the district – the community of Demi Jeliwan. Demi Jeliwan is home to 5,000 people who are subsistence farmers. Their water source – used for bathing and laundry – is a small, contaminated stream shared with livestock. The water is so salty they cannot drink it. So they have to walk out of the community for several miles for drinking water.  This comprehensive project entails a drilled well, which will pump clean, safe water to a 20,000-gallon storage tank. The water will then be piped directly to 10 public water taps (each tap contains 4 to 6 faucets) placed throughout the community. Each household will also construct a toilet and receive training in hygiene education. Additionally, community members will receive extensive training in operation and maintenance, ensuring that the project is community-owned and works in perpetuity. Community members provide ‘sweat equity’ — contributing their labor to construct the project, including digging over five miles of pipeline trench by hand using rudimentary pick axes and shovels.
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For those living in and near Seattle who want to help make a difference in the work to help the world’s poorest, Water1st International is calling on you to help break last year’s record of 800 participants in the Carry5 Walk for Water, an annual event in Seattle where participants walk to experience what 1 billion people do every single day – carry water for 5 kilometers – in support of those who need clean water. Carry5 is on May 15, 2016.

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About Seattle Reign FC:
Seattle Reign FC is one of ten teams in the National Women’s Soccer League. The NWSL is the premier women’s professional soccer league in North America, featuring many of the top players from the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as talent from around the world. Seattle Reign FC train and host home matches at Memorial Stadium, located in the shadow of the Space Needle on the Seattle Center campus. For more information on the club visit ReignFC.com or call 855-REIGNFC.

Bon Voyage to the travelers who make up the 11th Water Tour!

If you’ve been curious to see Water1st’s work firsthand, consider joining us on a Water Tour.

Water Tour Information, Photos, and Reflections from past travelers

Special thanks to our 10th Anniversary Sponsors: