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Drexel Delegation Travels to Ethiopia and Explores African Partnerships

March 1, 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, Kechma 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 and an expert in safe water systems, will also visit sites in Ghana.

"Drexel is committed to utilizing the expertise of its faculty like Dr. Marquez to build sustainable, long-term partnerships to address global challenges such as clean and safe water,"Fry said. "These types of mutually beneficial partnerships also offer education, research and service opportunities for students."

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. 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.