A few weeks ago I posted a blog about a P&G initiative called the Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program which has the goal of providing 15 billion liters of safe drinking water by 2020 through water purification sachets. What I did not talk about much was why this campaign really, really gets to me. Here’s why:
1. The Hunger Challenge
So, I went to a super Christian, super liberal arts, super white college in Midwestern United States. White kids there did things like grow dreadlocks, walk around campus barefoot and go on mission trips to Sierra Leone.
This one time, the campus was having (yet another!) awareness drive for a local nonprofit that was dedicated to feeding the hungry. Part of the “awareness” bit of the campaign asked all able-bodied campus residents to go without food or water for 24 hours. Well, my dorm mates peer pressured me into doing it and I ALMOST DIED. Guys. By the 8th hour I had a pounding headache and my mouth was so stale and dry that I felt like the next time I opened it, a dung beetle would crawl out. I COULD NOT FUNCTION. And the one thing I craved above all was a sip of something, ANYTHING!
It was a very privileged and stunt-like (and white liberal arts student) way to make a point but a point it did make: There are people in this world who live that reality every day. That Hunger Challenge in college made me painfully aware about how the lack of access to something basic such as water affects each and every part of your life.
There are men, women and children who live, work and learn without access to clean water every single day. In Kenya, the heart-wrenching statistic is that 37% of our population lacks access to safe drinking water. This is why P&G launched the Children’s Safe Drinking Water program and why it really hit home for me; If I could barely make it past 7 hours without feeling like I might collapse, how much more the plight of those who live that reality 24 hours a day, every day?
2. It’s Actually A Big Deal
You know how big of a deal this water thing is? It is number 6 out of 17 on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to the UN, the SDGs are what is required to complete the work of the millennium development goals and transform our planet.
Goal 6: Ensure Access To Water And Sanitation For All
Water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation negatively impact food security, livelihood choices and educational opportunities for poor families across the world. Drought afflicts some of the world’s poorest countries, worsening hunger and malnutrition. By 2050, at least one in four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water.
Clean water is recognized as a basic human right that is fundamental to the productivity of individuals, communities and nations as a whole.
3. It Feels Good
I know that this one is self-serving (I never at any point claimed to be Mother Theresa) but it feels good to be part of a good cause, to be part of something good. Every day in this country it feels like we’re bombarded with depressing socioeconomic news. For once, it’s nice to focus on an initiative that offers hope and a better life for many people. This week more than others, it feels good to hang onto that glimmer of hope for our country.
4. Groundbreaking, Award Winning Technology
The patented technology behind the water purification sachets has been called “groundbreaking” and here’s why:
- Each 4 gram packet treats 10 liters of water (!!!) and purifies even heavily contaminated water by killing bacteria and viruses, and removing parasites and solid materials
- Simple, readily available household items – a bucket, a stick and a cloth – are needed to purify the water with the purification sachets
- Each packet provides enough water for a family of 5 for one day
5. For The Kids
When Ella gets so much as a cold, my heart breaks. Kids are shadows of themselves when they get sick. The cheekiness, the sparkle of curiosity in their eyes, their sweet laughter, it all goes away when they’re unwell. As a mother, it’s painful to watch Ella when she’s like this. As a mother, my heart broke to hear that 340,000 children globally die from diarrheal disease which is caused by unsafe water. As a mother, I think of all those mothers having to watch their children fall terribly ill and eventually die because of lack of access to clean water. As a mother, this is why this campaign really, really gets to me and why I salute the Children’s Safe Drinking Water program for the efforts made to prevent this from ever happening again.