Photo by Elizabeth Atalay
Many years ago traveling in Africa I took this photo of young girls carrying these huge jugs of water through their village to their homes. This is a snapshot of a scene that I saw played out time and again in my travels through the continent. Lines at village hand pumps, and heavy jerry cans balanced on heads, hours fetching water that could otherwise have been spent by these young girls in school, or by the women earning a living. By being there, at times the amount of effort put into accessing the most basic of human necessities, and the conservation required once obtained, became my own reality as well. Having grown up with an abundance of water, this was a sharp learning curve on what a precious commodity water is. It is easy to take it for granted when you have it, until you don’t. According to statistics from WaterAid the average North American uses 400 liters of water every day, while the average person in the developing world uses 10 liters of water every day for their drinking, washing and cooking. (Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)) So, while I returned home to the many taps of flowing water inside my house with a new appreciation for that luxury, 783 million people around the world are without clean water to drink. Combine that fact with the lack of proper sanitation in many of the same regions and the result is 2,000 children who die each day from water related diseases.
The United Nations has established March 22nd as a day to examine water issues around the world.
WaterAid is an International non-profit organization that helps the world’s poorest people to plan, build and manage their own safe water supplies and to improve their sanitation and hygiene. These basic services transform lives.
“Water is just the beginning of the road out of poverty. Hours spent carrying water can instead be spent with family, tending crops, raising livestock or starting a business. Simple changes to sanitation and hygiene practices save thousands of babies’ lives and keep children in school.”- WaterAid.
How you can help:
- Watch, and share the below video:
Follow WaterAid America on Twitter and Facebook and share their posts on the #20ways that water is just the beginning of the road out of poverty.
- Join the World Water Day Google+ Hangout at 1.30pm EST on March 22 where WaterAid and other water organizations will be discussing the world water crisis and solutions in a celebration moderated by YouTube star Justine Ezarik.
- Make a donation: as experts in practical, hands-on water solutions WaterAid has brought clean water to 17.5 million people. But they need your help to achieve their aim of helping 1.4 million more people this year.
Visit www.wateraidamerica.org/worldwaterday for all the latest World Water Day news.
I wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.
Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.