But, many countries lack clean drinking water. Across Africa, women, children and men must walk long distances (as far as 8km) just to obtain a jug of dirty water full of contaminants and bacteria from a sources we wouldn’t let our pets play in. This dirty water is often filtered through old pieces of clothing to remove large particles but that doesn’t make it potable. The result is an increase in death and illness due to lack of proper sanitation and clean drinking water.
These areas also see a huge decrease in education of females as many females drop out of school at puberty due to a lack of clean water.
It was at an event a few years ago that I truly had my eyes opened to the world water issue. Living in a land of lakes, it was not something I thought of – I was living a first-world life without thinking of third-world problems. Our plenary speaker, Scott Harrison of Charity Water, launched an organization that build well and water projects to bring clean drinking water to these areas. Where this organization is different is how they raise and spend funds. All personal donations go directly to water projects and donees can track the progress of their project. Back office, marketing and associated business costs are supported by corporate donations.
Another aspect to Charity Water is it’s “Give up Your Birthday” program. Instead of receiving gifts, you ask people to donate for your birthday. My nine year old wanted to help give kids her age clean drinking water and recently donated her birthday. She was ecstatic to donate $90.00 to the charity and has since received video and emails about the water project her donation helped fund.
We are so lucky to live in a country where clean drinking water and food are in abundance that we often forget that not everyone is as fortunate. Working together, we can change this worldwide through water projects and innovation.