Water sanitation activist Martha Gebeyehu to receive OU International Water Prize at banquet

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Martha Gebeyehu

Martha Gebeyehu is the coordinator for Ethiopia's Water Expertise and Training Center.

A leader for water treatment and analysis in Ethiopia will receive an OU award dedicated to water supply and sanitation in remote areas of emerging regions. 

The Gallogly College of Engineering announced in a press release that Martha Gebeyehu, training center manager of Ethiopia's Water Expertise and Training Center, will receive the OU International Water Prize on Tuesday night at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

The prize will be awarded by OU’s WaTER, or Water Technologies for Emerging Regions, Center.

OU selected Gebeyehu to win the award last year, and she will formally receive it at the 2019 OU International WaTER Conference.

David Sabatini, director of the WaTER Center, told The Daily last year when Gebeyehu was announced as the winner that the center hopes she can serve as an example.

“According to the United Nations, there are upwards of 2 billion people that lack access to safe, reliable, drinking water supply, and upwards of 4 billion people in the world that lack adequate sanitation,” Sabatini said in 2018. “This prize is meant to recognize and celebrate someone who has made significant contributions to addressing these challenges. We hope that it serves as an example and an inspiration to our students to take on this challenge as well.”

Gebeyehu will receive the $25,000 award during the 6:30 p.m. banquet, according to the release.

Gebeyehu was the first water quality analyst for the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church Development Commission, according to the release. As an analyst, Gebeyehu helped implement safe testing practices and procedures. 

Gebeyehu went on to develop the laboratory that started the first water quality workshops in Ethiopia, according to the release, and she now helps guide projects in water, sanitation and hygiene. 

The award ceremony will be streamed online at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17.

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