A new study by Stanford researchers published by the journal Environmental Science and Technology shows that decreasing the amount of time families must walk to obtain clean water can help save the lives of young children.
In these difficult economic times, it is easy to lose sight of the many things we have to be thankful for, but with Thanksgiving just around the corner and the holidays not far behind, now is the perfect time to pause, reflect, and express our gratitude for all that we have.
When a new well is drilled, the most obvious and immediate benefit is access to clean water. Africa’s challenges, however, extend well beyond its water problems. Fortunately, the benefits that a new well offers to a community go a long way toward addressing these other issues. In addition to the reduction of water-related diseases, a new well offers myriad other benefits ranging from increased empowerment for women to a significant reduction in local poverty. The following are the top five ways that a village benefits when Wells Bring Hope, in partnership with World Vision, drills a new well.
Three Minutes a Week to Save a Life
Recently, I looked at pictures of clean and dirty water taken during my last trip to Niger, West Africa. There were a few shots of the surrounding village of Tchibarey. These photos remind me that while much of Africa struggles to find clean water sources, during the wettest season, the ‘marigaux’’ encircling the village was high enough to force us to get out of the car and walk through the water embankment so we could get to the village. Although locals were happy for the rain, one can’t help but wonder why countries throughout Africa are not taking better advantage of methods to recapture water for future use.
In the July 29th issue of “The Week,” one of my favorite publications, an eye-opening article appeared with the above title, excerpted from a book by Charles Fishman, “The Big Thirst.” “Water warriors” like me and others spend a lot of time thinking and writing about the lack of safe water in the developing world. But what about water in our own backyard? Was there a time in the history of the United States when people died of unsafe water? Absolutely. And what did we as a nation do about it? Plenty. Unfortunately, many governments in the developing world can’t afford to help their people adequately and so they suffer.
Why is providing clean water so important and why Africa? First and foremost,
water with pathogens kills 4,900 African children per day. This translates into
more than one child per minute! This is a travesty considering that clean water
for the people of Africa significantly improves health conditions, combats hunger,
increases educational opportunities for allows girls to go to school, frees up
time for women to establish small businesses and cumulatively improves the
“Beware of Do-Gooders Bearing Money and Gizmos:” How PlayPumps Crashed While “Wells Bring Hope” Soared
Last summer, I lived in Senegal, West Africa, for two months. I lived with a Senegalese family, took sustainable international development classes with local university students, and conducted personal field research on water issues in the rural town of Guede-Chantier (“Geh-day Shon-tee-ay”).
As you wake up every morning, part of your daily ritual will include turning your faucet on, taking a shower, brushing your teeth, making a cup of coffee or tea then heading out for work. Where I was born, Niger, West Africa, the morning ritual begins at dawn, grabbing a container or bucket, and heading for the nearest water source to start the day. In rural areas, most women and young girls begin the day by making multiple treks to the local pond so that the household can have water for drinking and cooking. Showers and laundry are done by the pond after the water supply quota has been met for the day.