I have seen how water scarcity is already a mainstay for families in rural Africa and southeast Asia. Even here in the United States we know that Americans experience water scarcity in places such as Flint, Michigan and California. And lest we forget, we also need to make sure our oceans are free of plastics and pollutants.
Here are five organizations where you can donate this final day of World Water Week.
Imagine going through your day without ready access to clean water for drinking, cooking, washing or bathing. Around the world, 663 million people face that challenge every day. They get their water from sources that are considered unsafe because they are vulnerable to contamination, such as rivers, streams, ponds and unprotected wells. And the task of providing water for households falls disproportionately to women and girls.
I have carried out research in India, Bolivia and Kenya on the water and sanitation challenges that women and girls confront and how these experiences influence their lives. In my field work I have seen adolescent girls, pregnant women and mothers with small children carrying water. Through interviews, I have learned of the hardships they face when carrying out this obligatory task.
An insufficient supply of safe and accessible water poses extra risks and challenges for women and girls. Without recognizing the uneven burden of water work that women bear, well-intentioned programs to bring water to places in need will continue to fail to meet their goals.
So, what is it like for women who live in places where sufficient and safe water is not readily accessible?
Water issues continue to be front and center of global health and development goals. In fact, 783 million people today do not have sustainable access to clean, safe water. While there have been notable strides in providing access to water to regions in need around the world, that need is still astronomical.
Many NGOs and companies are on the frontlines of working towards ensuring communities have access to water. One such company is GIVN.
GIVN, a certified B-Corporation based in Chicago, provides water to communities in need through its three key partners: Water.org, Water is Basic, and UNICEF’s Tap Project. For every bottle of GIVN water you buy, one person will receive a full day of water. To date, GIVN’s sales have provided 800,000 days of clean water to communities in need.
When I stepped out of the U.S. Forest Service SUV after nearly a two-hour scenic autumn drive from Taos, New Mexico to the Carson National Forest, we were standing in an expansive valley so big that huge cows below us looked like mere dots in the distance. We had finally arrived at Valle Vidal, a massive grassy meadow with vistas as far as the eye could see and elevations reaching close to 13,000 feet in Carson National Forest. Even though Valle Vidal is overwhelmingly beautiful to take in its environmental impact is being increasingly hampered by major stream and groundwater degradation that needs immediate remedying in order to protect fish and wildlife as well as to store more ground water for communities downstream.
I was in New Mexico visiting the Carson National Forest with Coca-Cola North America’s sustainability team last week to learn about their water restoration efforts in northern New Mexico as well as the company’s overarching nationwide partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and National Forest Foundation that replenished 1 billion liters of water to nature and communities reaching 60 million people in the United States. Coca-Cola also recently announced that it has successfully reached one of its principle global sustainability milestones ahead of schedule to effectively balance its water usage in its beverages and production. Coca-Cola has reached its goal five years ahead by replenishing 191.9 billion liters of water across the globe in 71 countries. In the United States, Coca-Cola North America has pledged to double the 1 billion liters of water that it has already replenished by 2018.
This Sunday, March 22, is the United Nations’ World Water Day. 354 million people continue to not have access to clean, drinking water every day. This is a critical problem because dirty water causes a whole host of water-borne diseases that kill the smallest children, especially those under the age of five.
“Without access to clean water, the world’s poorest people will stay poor,” says the UN’s report on women and water. Women and children spend 140 million hours a day collecting water when those hours could be spent going to school, working, for leisure, or to take care of their families. Instead, women and girls in particular, walk for miles in some instances to get water for their entire family. In Africa and Asia, girls and children walk an average of 3.7 miles a day just to fetch water.
For over five years Three Avocados has funded global water and education projects in Uganda and Nicaragua through the sale of their coffee and branded products like tumblers, T-shirts, and coffee mugs.
I recently received two bags of Three Avocados arabica ground coffee – one from Nicaragua and the other from Uganda.Both are quite good. I am a big fan of very strong, dark roast coffee and Three Avocados definitely does not disappoint.
When I opened my box of samples, the smell of coffee hit me before I even saw the coffee bags. I loved that immediately. In my experience if I can smell ground coffee before I even open the bag I know it will likely be very good.
Across the globe 748 million people still lack access to clean drinking water every day. Dirty water leads to a whole host of waterborne diseases including diarrhea, one of the top three killers of children under the age of five. One of the main challenges that NGOs face when providing clean water to people is that there is rarely a guarantee that when clean water is provided to a village or community it will continue to flow.
World Vision is the largest NGO provider of clean water in low- and middle-income countries. In fact, in 2014, World Vision provided clean drinking water to people in 2,416 villages in Africa. And, because of their work, one person gets access to clean water every 30 seconds.
On a recent trip to the Philippines with World Vision USA I saw some of their water projects in small, rural villages. AfterTyphoon Haiyan World Vision worked to get clean water flowing via gravity from springs to villages at the base of mountains. In addition to providing water to the villages, World Vision also provides community awareness programs to also teach the community members about sanitation.
When I was in Zambia in July reporting on infectious diseases, something happened one day while visiting the N’Gombe compound in Lusaka that really made me think critically about the global water problem and how extensive and intricate it really is. While we sat inside the small, tidy home of a family that was affected by tuberculosis and listened intently to their personal story we … Continue reading One Man’s Anger: When the Global Water Crisis Hits Home
As you may know I am in Zambia with the International Reporting Project as a New Media fellow. Ten of us are here in the country to report on HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other rarely covered stories in the region. Yesterday we visited Macha, a small Southern province town 60 miles from the nearest city, Choma. Macha is the home of the Malaria Institute at … Continue reading Sanitation Wisdom from a Zambian Chief #ZambiaHealth
Today on World Water Day, together with our partner WaterAidAmerica, we are working with our dedicated community of moms to share through posts how important water is to the livelihood of people worldwide. You can follow along with us today on our new microsite for World Water Day, worldwater13.tumblr.com, to see all of the posts and videos from Social Good Moms and Global Team of 200 members. … Continue reading How We’re Celebrating World Water Day
Lacking safe drinking water is a blight many of us will never live with, let alone ever fully understand. Living in a privileged society where safe drinking water streams right out the tap and a plethora of product choices are available in our grocery store’s water aisle, most of us simply do not know what it’s like to not have clean, safe water to drink. … Continue reading 783 Million People Lack Access to Safe Drinking Water #WorldWaterDay2013
James Smith, professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Dr. Rebecca Dillingham, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Global Health, with a PureMadi water filter. In areas where water is often filled with pathogens that are deadly or can cause severe illness it is important to either filter water or, the alternative, have access to clean water. According to our partner WaterAid, 783 … Continue reading Team Creates Clean Water Solution for South Africans
I have written before that one of the things I advocate most is access to clean water and sanitation around the globe. When I was in Kenya last year – especially in the rural areas – I came face to face with the bathroom issue. While I didn’t see any open defecation as can be rampant in some areas in developing nations I did have … Continue reading The Crucial Need for Sanitation in the Emerging World