We are in the midst of summer, and with the temperatures soaring there is only one thought on everyone’s mind: water. We run through cold sprinklers, we chug bottles of filtered water, and we swim in the local chlorinated pool. But imagine if you didn’t have access to this clean water. Imagine if you didn’t have immediate access to water at all. Today, over 800 million people in the world are faced with this reality. That means that 11% of the world’s population is being deprived of this essential human requirement. Luckily, a man named Scott Harrison saw this problem and decided to do something about this tragedy.
In 2006, Scott started a company called Charity:Water, which is “a non-profit organization bringing clean, safe, drinking water to people in developing countries.” Just six years later, the company has served 19 different countries, completed over 6,185 projects, and provided water for villages, schools, and clinics. In India, alone, the company has finished 485 projects, 411 of which are villages and 74 of which are schools. Before these projects were completed, the people in these areas had to walk over 5 miles carrying 80 pounds of water on their back, children had to dig in the sand, and families had to stand in line for up to 8 hours at the local well just to get a little water that usually left them sick. Now, over 2.5 million people have access to neighboring, clean water thanks to the program’s implementation of hand-dug wells, drilled wells, rehabilitations, spring protections, rainwater catchments, and BioSand filters.
Providing this clean, accessible water to countries via various implementations does so much more than one would realize. First, it improves the health of local citizens who often suffer from waterborne diseases. It also provides food security for families by allowing them to cook safely, clean their utensils, and have access to water for irrigation in gardens. Additionally, it allows for children to get a better education by giving them time to go to school, time which was previously spent collecting water or being ill from waterborne diseases. Clean water and sanitation improves local economies, as well, with every $1 invested yielding $12 in economic return. It even allows for improved sanitation and hygiene providing a level of cleanliness and privacy with latrines that many have never experienced before. Finally, it empowers women, a theme strongly supported by Anchal, because women are twice as likely to have to fetch water than men. Thus, clean water provides them with time, freedom, and opportunities they did not have before.
We find Charity:Water an inspiring, worth-while organization because of its ability to recognize how supplying clean water can make such a large impact on a community. This is the type of social change that deserves wider recognition and should not be ignored. So the next time you are taking a shower, getting water from the fridge, or doing the dishes, remember the millions out there that could have the same privileges with the help of your help.