Try something different this year when you give. Give the gift of water.
Water Around The World: A Crisis
Flipping on the faucet whenever we feel like it is something we generally take for granted. Yet for so many others around the world, clean water is a luxury. Some facts about water around the world:
- 783 million people do not have access to clean, safe water. Of those, 37% are people living in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- 443 million school days are lost each year to water-related diseases.
- In developing countries, as much as 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.
- Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.
- The average container for water collection in Africa, the jerry can, weighs over 40 pounds when full.
- 64% of households rely on women and girls to get the family’s water when there is not water source in the home.
- According to the World Health Organization, for every $1.00 invested in water and sanitation, there is an economic return of between $3.00 and $34.00! (source: The Water Project)
Clean Water Charities: How And Who
Here are several water-related charities doing the work of bringing clean water to thirsty communities throughout the world. We’ve checked these out and found them to be top-notch as far as financial transparency and positive impact.
- Charity: Water – Charity Water focuses it’s resources on time-proven ways to improve people’s access and cleanliness to water in developing nations all over the world. From rainwater catchments and biosand filters, to building latrines and digging traditional wells, Charity Water is a boots-on-the-ground organization providing solutions that best fit the community they are working in.
- Wello – This charity, operating primarily in India presently, has designed a Water Wheel. This provides two fantastic opportunities for women and girls. One, because they are the most likely the family members in charge of fetching water, the Water Wheel allows them to get the water containers off of their backs and shoulders. The Water Wheel is fully contained and rolls on the ground, allowing the water bearer to reduce injury and possible water loss from carrying heavy open containers on their shoulders. This innovative product also creates a micro-industry for women, allowing them to start a water delivery service to their village neighbors. Fresh water AND economic empowerment for women? Excellent.
- The Water Project – Help build wells in villages across Africa. When you help fund a water project, this group invests in proven partners who are drilling fresh water wells providing sanitation and hygiene training, and constructing other sustainable water projects. The super cool thing about The Water Project is that when you choose to help fund a water project, donors get to see the specific impact of their gift through photos, short stories, and map coordinates. They also follow up on completed projects to ensure the work done has had a long-term impact.
- Water.org – If you have a particular country you would like to provide assistance on water projects for, check out Water.org. Their website lists their projects by country. The WaterCredit Initiative by Water.org. Fund a small, or microloan, to an individual and empower them to address their own water needs. As the loan is repaid, the funds can then be granted to another individual in need of safe water.
In the Western World, we live with an abundance of resources. Whenever I have received a gift in the form of a donation in my name, it has been my favorite gift of all. Consider making this Christmas less thirsty for our neighbors around the world.