Back to All Events

A Long Walk to Water: Women, Population and Access to Safe Water

  • The Aspen Institute (map)

Water is humanity’s most essential need, and yet one third of our planet’s population lacks access to safe water, spreading disease and conflict. As climate change makes draught and disaster increasingly common, leading to melting water sources and wells pumped past the point of renewability, the water we do have is distributed and consumed in a starkly inequitable way. Population growth is making scarce resources like food and water scarcer, and pushing families to join the rush of migration into thirsty mega-cities. In many societies, the struggle to provide water every day falls to women, who are walking growing distances to find it. Join us in exploring how these interlinked issues play out on the ground in Ethiopia and South Sudan, and how cross-sectoral interventions are fighting back.


Salva Dut, Founder and President, Water for South Sudan. A former “Lost Boy” of Sudan, Salva is the subject of the recent book A Long Walk to Water. Water for South Sudan Inc. drills borehole wells which bring safe drinking water to the people in South Sudan’s remote villages, transforming lives in the process.

Shewaye Deribe, Project Coordinator, Ethio-Wetlands and Natural Resource Association (EWNRA). EWNRA seeks to integrate socio-economic and environmental/biodiversity issues at watershed level, using an integrated, community-centered approach to restore the watershed, create alternative livelihoods, strengthen health systems, and improve reproductive health.

Jaehyang So, Manager of the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP).WSP is a a multi-donor partnership administered by the World Bank to support poor people in obtaining affordable, safe, and sustainable access to water and sanitation services. Ms. So has a background in urban service delivery, utilities and corporate restructuring, and public-private partnerships.

Moderated by Peggy Clark, Executive Director, Aspen Global Health and Development, and Vice President, Policy Programs at The Aspen Institute. Peggy provides strategic oversight and guidance to the Institute’s 26 policy programs and leads programs promoting breakthrough approaches to global development.

Media Coverage: