Data Visualization

Blog of the Data Visualization & Communication Course at OSB-AUB

This is my favorite part about analytics: Taking boring flat data and bringing it to life through visualization” John Tukey

Water is Wealth – A Call for Action in Africa

Water is Wealth – A Call for Action in Africa



Water is Wealth – A Call for Action in Africa

We often tend to forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one. Millions of women and children spend 3 – 6 hours collecting water from distant polluted sources daily and 2.1 billion people do not have access to clean and safe drinking water. We live in a world where half the hospital beds are employed by patients who suffer from diseases associated with lack of access to clean water where 3.4 million people die each year.

Access to clean water in Africa on Non-Profit Organizations that offer the country a well to be used by every institution that surrounds it. Therefore, “How Can We Make Water Available for All?” is a very important topic that is being addressed through the Sustainable Development Goals.


In the heat map below, we can see that Europe and Central Asia in addition to the Arab World have more access to the least basic drinking water services in comparison to Western and Central Africa.

It is also evident in the visual below that throughout the years, countries from all around the world increased their intake of their basic drinking water services except African countries who show a slight improvement.

It is important to note that for you to be able to visualize the changes throughout the years, you need to press on the button at the bottom of the visual!

However, with the slight improvements in a few countries, we can still find that other countries (such as the Central African Republic) are still experiencing a decrease on the matter.

It is said that “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” – W.H Auden

With all these problems being evident, one has to call for action. One of the solutions that have been implemented and has to remain active is increasing the public private partnerships investment in water and sanitation throughout the years (in $US).

This solution has helped increase the access of countries to clean water throughout the years and will continue to do so if implemented more often.



You can help by donating to NGOs that offer help on the matter. Some examples on the NGOs include: Just a Drop and Planet Water Foundation. Donations can happen through

  1. Just a Drop:
  2. Planet Water Foundation:


Africa – a call for clean water and sanitation

Africa – a call for clean water and sanitation

Water is a basic human need; without it, survival is not possible.
Every day, 2.1 billion people wake up with no access to clean water. In other words, millions of families around the world do not drink, cook, or shower with clean water.
Each year, 3.4 million people die from unsafe and contaminated water sources, especially in the Sub Saharan African region with the highest mortality rate average of 101 persons per 100,000 in Chad, followed by an average of 87 in Somalia.

Access to basic drinking water, safely managed drinking water, and basic handwashing facilities

On average today, only 65% of the African population have access to basic drinking water, 31% use safe managed drinking water services, and only 26% have basic handwashing facilities including soap and water.

Despite global Sustainable Development Goals and commitments made in 2015 to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, a progress was only witnessed in a few African nations over the past three to five years, according to the UN’s first-ever assessment of water security in Africa. Results show Egypt as one of the top five most water-secure countries in Africa, while Ethiopia, Somalia, Niger, and Chad appear to be the least water-secure countries in Africa.

It is also noticeable that the rural population is the one water deprived the most: only 39% of the sub-Saharan population has access to basic drinking water, in comparison to 80% from the urban population.

Effects on Women & Children

More than 70% of women in Africa are employed in agriculture including water collection. That means that instead of attending school, raising a family, or simply having a decent job, African women are obliged to spend from 3 to 6 hours walking to arrive to the closest source and collect water for their household. Women who are subjected to collecting water are more likely to:

  • Drop out of school
  • Suffer from infections and diseases
  • Die from contaminated water
  • Be sexually abused and much more.

Women are not the only ones who suffer, nearly 6,000 children die of water related diseases each day. This is why, it is time to end the water crisis.

A call for help

How can we make safe water available for all? This can be done by installing sustainable water points in the most impoverished areas of the world. Our focus should be first on rural villages in Africa, where the walk to collecting clean water is on average 3.7 miles.
Previous drilling solutions have proven beneficial to the needed regions: over 9 million people have now access to clean water, and a good example is a rural primary school in southern Kenya. This school used to spend its entire government budget purchasing water for students and teachers. This budget was intended to cover teacher salaries and purchase required books and supplies, but water was determined to be a much greater need. After drilling water wells and obtaining clean water onsite, the school witnessed a knowledgeable 30% increase in attendance, and budgets were re-allocated for teachers salaries and books. This plan is a proven solution that helps increase education opportunities for girls and women, improve health and sanitation, and have more opportunities for development. Therefore, we urge you to donate now on allowing WHOlives organization to install new water points each month. You can change lives!

The Importance of Access to Sanitation in Africa

The Importance of Access to Sanitation in Africa

In a village near the city of Saurimo in Angola, 14 years old Amari lives alone with his two little siblings. When he lost his parents, as the oldest child Amari became head of the family and responsible for their survival. For Amari, life is made even more difficult with no access to basic sanitation such as clean water and soap. Without access to clean water, the children had trouble cooking, bathing, and coping with water-borne illnesses. They would fall sick and suffer from headaches, stomachaches, and diarrhea. Unfortunately, Amari and his family are not the only ones with these kinds of problems, a lot of neighboring countries also lack these basic necessities which makes daily life even harder.

Today only 27% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population has access to basic sanitation and in some countries such as Congo or Zimbabwe, this number is decreasing, as service providers fail to keep pace with population growth.

Contaminated water and poor sanitation are linked to the transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, and many others. Among them, some might lead to the hospitalization and even the death of the patient. In fact, about 750,000 children in Africa under the age of 5 die every year from diarrheal diseases.
So, who is most affected by this problem? People who live in rural areas are generally more disadvantaged than those who live in urban areas when it comes to having access to basic handwashing facilities making them more at risk of catching infections and other communicable diseases.

Having access to basic sanitation and washing your hands with soap and clean water seems simple enough but it has a huge impact on the lives of millions of people living in Africa. According to UNICEF :
• During childbirth, handwashing with soap, sterile equipment, and antiseptics can be the difference between life and death.
• Up to 50% of cases of malnutrition are caused by inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene.
• Children reduce their risk of getting diarrhea by more than 40% when they wash their hands with soap after going to the toilet or before eating.

As we can see, improving the supply of sanitation products and services, especially in areas where the access to these products is low (for example rural areas) is critical to reducing the spread of viruses and bacteria. This would make life more manageable for Amari and people living in similar conditions. So, it is important to raise awareness so that organizations (such as UNICEF) and NGOs partner with governments of the concerned countries and others in community-led initiatives to help them invest in basic sanitation such as soap and water in order to reduce the number of infections and potentially death related to bad sanitation.

Road To Hunger: Somalia

 2022. Climate change. DROUGHT. Increasing DROUGHT periods. Shorter Time Between these DROUGHT periods. FAMINE.

Meet Zahi. Zahi is a 10 year old Somali boy who lives in Somalia. He has been suffering from acute malnourishment for a good while now.
In fact, as of 2022, it was reported that around 4.1 Million Somalis are just like Zahi: all acutely malnourished, or even severely malnourished. In other words, this means that 1/4th of the Somali population is at the very least acutely malnourished. What can that cause, you may ask? Illnesses, poor physical and cognitive development, and ultimately, death.

This makes Somalia the hungriest country in the world. If you are wondering how hunger is measured, it is by using a metric entitled the Global Hunger Index (GHI). The latter is calculated by gathering data about:

  • Undernourishment: share of people in a given region/country whose caloric intake is deemed insufficient,
  • Child Undernutrition: share of children under 5 who have low weight for their height (wasted children) and thus suffer from acute undernutrition, but also the share of children under 5 who have a low height for their age (stunted children)- which indicates chronic undernutrition,
  • Child Mortality: mortality rate of children under 5 who die because of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments.

To visualize the world’s hunger, the map that can be viewed in Sheet 1 below or on this link has been created.
We notice that Somalia is indeed the only country in the world with an extremely alarming Global Hunger Index, with an average GHI of 58 over the past 20 years.

What makes the situation in Somalia this dire and helpless? Well, to say the least, poverty coupled with and aggravated by governmental corruption, several outbreaks (to list a few: cholera, malaria, measles, corona), inflating prices (notably with the current Russia-Ukraine crisis) and most importantly the series of drought periods that have been happening consecutively over the past years, with the 2011-2012, 2016-2017 and 2021-2022 crises counting as the 3 major and most recent drought crises that have happened (and are still happening). Moreover, drought means death of livestock, no water, parents abstaining from eating to feed their children the very little food they have access to, and overall hunger. One must note that droughts have always happened in Somalia (and in the Horn of Africa generally), meaning that the Somalis are used to drought, and they had adapted to it, knowing how to pick themselves up and continue. However, with climate change, these drought periods have become more acute and consecutive, with shorter periods separating them, hence disabling Somalis from the chance to recover from the last drought.

Alright, now what is the solution?

The deployment of an immediate humanitarian response: gathering funds through non-governmental organizations or even governmental donations which aim (but are not limited to) to sending emergency water supplies, sending food donations, treating the malnourished, distributing dietary supplements, opening and running health supplies but also giving out cash and livelihood support to those who are most in need.

Does this help?

Yes. It does.

As a matter of fact, just like the graph on Sheet 2 below shows (or the one you can see on this link), in 2012, Somalia’s GHI was measured at an all time high of 65. Thanks to the donations and the humanitarian responses that happened between 2011 and 2020, Somalia’s GHI dropped to 50.8. Magical, right? Arguably the GHI all time high of 65 could have been prevented in the 2011-2012 drought crisis had the international scene acted quicker than they did: in fact their response was so slow that thousands had died by the time aids reached. It was indeed deemed a failure. Moreover, back then only 56% of the UN’s funding appeal for Somalia were met by donors, whereas during the 2016-2017 drought crisis, the international scene responded quicker and more acutely, with 68% of UN’s funding appeal for Somalia being met by donors.

However, it is to be noted than today, in the ongoing 2021-2022 drought crisis, merely 2.3% of the UN’s total funding appeal for Somalia have been met by donors. 2.3%. Furthermore, according to Mohamud Mohamed, Save the Children’s Country Director in Somalia: Donors have a narrow window to prevent a major humanitarian disaster in Somalia (…)We’re worried that the political environment globally is overshadowing the humanitarian suffering of the Somali people.” As Mohamed said, the eyes of the world are focused on Ukraine, and are overlooking the rest of the world. Unequal treatment kills.

And the time, my friends, is ticking.

Written by Nour El Saadi.


High Mortality Rate due to unsafe water and lack of hygiene in Africa

High Mortality Rate due to unsafe water and lack of hygiene in Africa

Sanitation facilities safely separate human waste from human contact, but when people don’t have access to safe toilets, they opt to defecate in the open, and exposed human waste is transferred back into people’s food and water resources. About one-fourth of those defecating in the open in the world live in sub-Saharan Africa and they spend an average of 2.5 days per year trying to find a private location to defecate. Women spend extra time looking for a safe place to go and are put can experience gender-based violence in the process.

The use of contaminated drinking water and poor sanitary conditions results in increased vulnerability to water-borne diseases, including diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, and typhoid. More deaths occur among children under 2 years of age living in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. It is reported that 115 people in Africa die every hour from diseases linked to poor sanitation, poor hygiene, and contaminated water.

When a person doesn’t have access to clean water and sanitation, they are also at risk of decreased school attendance, missed workdays, malnutrition, and poverty. When girls and women lack access to safe sanitation and water, their education suffers because they experience period poverty and can’t afford menstrual products, clean themselves safely, or access separate bathrooms.

In Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa, more than a quarter of the population spends more than half an hour per trip to collect water. The task of fetching water tends to fall on women, and this burden can also prevent girls from attending school.