Helping communities develop convenient sources of pure water not only saves lives, it makes people’s lives better! It may be hard to imagine how safe water could be such a big problem. We hardly give it a second thought. When we get thirsty we turn a tap and fill a glass. For 773 million people living in our world today, the only water available may be as far as 10 kilometers away from where they live. After the long walk, the water that they do find may be contaminated with toxins or disease causing agents.
Imagine for a moment, what it would be like to live in a village in Africa that has no well. If you are a woman, it would probably be your responsibility to collect enough water to meet the needs of the family every day.
You would probably want to get up very early so that you would not have to return with a heavy water container during the heat of the day. If you are lucky, you might have a donkey to help bring the water home, but it is more likely that you would have to carry it home yourself. Once you finally lay that pot down, just inside your mud brick house, you have a decision to make. Will you give the water to your children to drink, just the way it is, or boil it first. If you decide to play it safe, you will most likely spend another hour collecting firewood from the forest and even more time boiling the water. By now it is mid-morning, maybe even noon. All you have done so far today is get water. After cooking some food, cleaning, washing the children, and perhaps giving some water to your goats, you may realize that your supply is almost depleted and it is time for another trip to the river…
Now, imagine that ADRA comes to work in your village. One of the first things that they do is set up a water committee to help address the water needs of your community. Depending on your location they might provide wells and pumps, or work with your friends and neighbors to develop a gravity-fed water system with water taps installed at convenient locations throughout your village. Now pure, safe water is only a few steps away from your home! Imagine the difference this would make in your life!
Suddenly you would have an additional six to eight hours a day to attend to other needs for your family. You would not have to worry about giving your sick baby water to drink, for fear that it might make her worse. With easy access to water, you would be able to raise more animals for food and income. You could start a small garden, even in the dry season! You could bathe your children every day. You could install a latrine. You would now have time to attend the ADRA workshops that are teaching the women of your village about health and nutrition and how to start a small business to make money for your family.
By giving the gift of water you can dramatically change the life of a woman living on marginal lands in developing countries. These kinds of small investments not only save lives, they reap big “ripple effect” rewards in the way of improving the life, health and nutrition of entire communities.