How do you start your day?
You may perhaps brush your teeth, make a cup of coffee or tea, wash your face, or even take a shower. Culture-to-culture, the ways we start and go about our days may vary. But no matter our routines, it often centers around our need for clean water and good sanitation.
We all know that having clean water, sanitation and hygiene is important. This is particularly true as we battle against COVID-19. But even before the pandemic, we understood its importance to people’s physical, social and economic wellbeing.
And yet, globally, 1 in 10 people lack access to basic drinking water services. 1 in 3 people lack access to safe drinking water. And 2 billion people still do not have access to basic sanitation facilities. More than 2 million people worldwide die each year from diarrhoea diseases, and 90% are due to poor hygiene and unsafe water consumption.
But we should not be discouraged, even in the face of these sobering statistics. The GREAT news is that there are countless amazing and inspiring causes around the world who are finding ways to improve this. The OTHER great news is that more and more individuals and corporations have started supporting these causes. Together, we make huge impacts. And more and more vulnerable communities are supported with each passing day.
Providing Access to Clean Water around the Globe
Various causes provide access to clean water in different ways. This is often due to limited physical materials, manpower, or the location’s terrain. Here are some of the ways communities have been resourcefully creative.
In provinces along the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, droughts are common and water sources are often infused with saline. GreenID combines solar power with reverse osmosis filtration systems. Through this, clean drinking water is produced from saline-filled water supplies. Since 2013, villages in Vietnam including Thai Binh, Nam Dinh, Bac Giang, Dak Lak, An Giang, and Ca Mau have gained access to clean drinking water. They are even able to sell excess water at a lower cost to other locals!
Bio-sand filters are also useful alternatives. And Trailblazer Foundation installs at least 410 a year for families in Cambodia. These durable bio-sand filters can each last for up to 2 decades or more and purify about 80 litres of water a day. That's enough for 15 people to drink and use for cooking!
And of course, when thinking about making water accessible, one often thinks of wells and water pumps.
In Tanzania, MSABI works with wells, rope pumps and ceramic Tembo pot filters. This is provided on-demand, for rural villages in the Kilombero, Ulanga, Malinyi and Kilosa Districts of Tanzania. Tembo pot filters last up to 3 years and remove more than 99.8% of bacteria. They are also locally manufactured – providing employment for the local community.
In water-scarce regions of Zambia, Build It International drills boreholes. These boreholes are at least 25 metres deep to provide access to clean water in schools. Local contractors also build hand pumps, concrete aprons for drainage, and water taps. Students, teachers, and members of the community now conveniently access clean water!
At times, large water storage tanks are also built.
In water-scarce areas of Kenya, So They Can constructs large water storage tanks to collect rainwater. By cleaning and storing the rainwater, there is a safe and sustainable supply of clean water. In the same vein, World Youth International builds water tanks in hospitals in rural Western Kenya. Doing so, they can store enough clean water for recovering patients.
Bringing Access to Sanitation Services around the Globe
All over the world, our Worthy Causes are also doing so many amazing things to also create access to sanitation services. And here are just a few that caught our eye!
In India, Gram Vikas partners with villagers to build bathrooms. Households and villagers contribute physical labour and materials like stone, bricks and sand. With porcelain pans, they can relieve themselves while keeping their water sources clean. The end goal is to empower the village to develop, sustain and maintain their own sanitation programmes.
Over in Malawi and Zambia, Every Home Global Concern builds brick toilets with and for the villagers in remote regions. From 2016 to 2019, 317 safe and sanitary brick toilets were constructed!
And that’s not all.
In Indonesia, ROLE Foundation has a two-in-one solution for sanitation and the environment. First, they bulk-rescue basic sanitary products from hotels around Bali (that would have been thrown away). They then sanitize, re-process and re-distribute the products to orphanages who need them. In 2020, 8586 bars of soap were re-distributed.
Spreading Awareness for Good Hygiene Practices around the Globe
It's not enough to just provide access to clean water and sanitation. Communities have to believe in its importance too. The great thing is, many programs do not stop at spreading awareness. Instead, they also empower community members to become change-makers in their own communities.
In Tanzania, MSABI creatively engages with school children in interactive modules about hygiene. Topics include washing hands with soap, accessing clean water, recognizing diseases, and safe sanitation. Through activities, games and acting in drama performances, the children form good habits while having lots of fun. Beyond that, the drama performances also spread awareness to their families and communities.
In Myanmar, Child’s Dream pairs raising awareness with action. Bringing regular health education sessions to schools in remote communities, they also provide 2 health check-ups to each student per year. Providing treatment for basic illnesses and encouraging good hygiene practices, these students go on to bring what they have learnt back to their families.
In Indonesia, Opportunity International Australia empowers local women to become local health leaders. These women then visit homes to encourage other families to attend local health education sessions. While battling COVID-19, they have also stepped up in their roles. They conducted hand washing demonstrations and spread messages of coronavirus prevention. Turning to digital platforms to film videos, they have even furthered campaigns such as the #AyoPakaiMasker (Let's Use a Face Mask) campaign!
Inspired to Make Global Impacts?
When we look at how many communities still lack the access they deserve to clean water and sanitation, it can be easy to feel demoralized. But we can also be inspired by amazing causes around the world. They are fighting to make a greatly needed and greatly positive change. And we have the ability to support them in making big impacts too.
By giving to a B1G1 Global Project, you commit to making an impact not to any specific country or Worthy Cause, but to making an impact anywhere in the world. Find out more about our Global Projects and how they work here or view our Provide Clean Water in The World Global Project here.