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Drexel Delegation Travels to Ethiopia and Explores African Partnerships

Drexel President John A. Fry with Dr. Shannon Marquez, director of Global Health Initiatives at Drexel, visit with children at Ethiopia's Kechema village.

PHILADELPHIA March 22, 2013

Drexel University President John A. Fry and a delegation recently traveled to Ethiopia to explore possible University programs in the country’s urban and rural areas. Fry was joined by Dr. Shannon Marquez, associate dean of Drexel’s School of Public Health, and philanthropists and University benefactors Dana and David Dornsife. A 1983 Drexel alumna, Dana Dornsife together with David helped establish Drexel’s Dana and David Dornsife Center for Community Partnerships with a $10 million gift to the University.

The Drexel delegation witnessed firsthand the impact of Ethiopia’s existing water projects and explored areas for future partnerships focused on access to clean and safe water and health care practices. The group visited well-drilling, sanitation and hygiene program sites in Yekasha, Kechema and Sekekelo as well as other projects near Addis Ababa, Waliso, Walkite and Gimbichu. Marquez, who is also the director of Global Health Initiatives at Drexel's School of Public Health and an expert in safe water systems, also visited sites in Ghana.

“Innovative faculty experts like Dr. Marquez are the foundation of Drexel’s sustainable, long-term partnerships to address global challenges such as clean and safe water,” Fry said. “This type of mutually beneficial partnership also offers educational and service opportunities for students, and inspires benefactors like Dana and David Dornsife.”

World Vision, an international organization that has built over 1,500 wells in 10 African countries, providing almost 1 million people with access to safe water, organized the trip. Access to safe water is especially important in many African countries, as contaminated water and poor sanitation are among the most common preventable causes of death for children under five.

Through World Vision, the Dornsifes support microeconomic enterprise, agriculture and literacy programs in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and, in partnership with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, well-water drilling in Mali, Ghana, Niger, Ethiopia, Zambia and Malawi.

A number of events highlighting the importance of access to safe water will be held around the globe on March 22 in commemoration of World Water Day.

Watch Marquez pump water in Nothern Ghana in the video below.

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