Health and Sanitation
Diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Children are especially vulnerable, as their bodies aren't strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses.
90% of the 30,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are of children under five years old. Many of these diseases are preventable. The UN predicts that one tenth of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply and sanitation.
In Africa alone, the overall economic loss due to lack of safe water and sanitation is $28 billion, or about 5% of GDP. In areas where gathering water is impossible, small-scale private water distributors charge full market prices, forcing the poorest households to spend up to 11% of their income on life's most basic need. Even this water is most likely contaminated if it has been collected from unprotected rivers or ponds.
All members – men and women -- are engaged in the construction and maintenance of their charity: water projects. When complete, 6-10 community members are appointed to the Water Committee and are responsible for overseeing the functionality of the water point. Water Committees are often the first chance for women to step into elected leadership roles. This new responsibility can restore dignity, initiative and equality to community members.
Women and Children
In Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year just walking for water. Women and children usually bear the burden of water collection, walking miles to the nearest source, which is unprotected and likely to make them sick.
Time spent walking and resulting diseases keep them from school, work and taking care of their families.
Along their long walk, they're subjected to a greater risk of harassment and sexual assault. Hauling cans of water for long distances takes a toll on the spine and many women experience back pain early in life.
With safe water nearby, women are free to pursue new opportunities and improve their families’ lives. Kids can earn their education and build the future of their communities.
Feeding our world takes up to 90% of our freshwater withdrawals but many people in developing nations still don't have access to enough water for irrigation. When a water project is built in a community, members can often use the new water source to grow small gardens near their homes and secure their own food supply. Self-sufficient households are less affected by external conflict, famine or inadequate government services.
Looking to the Future
charity: water served its first one million people at the end of 2009. That’s a major accomplishment, but we have much more work to do. By 2050, the world's population is estimated to grow by three billion and 90% of this growth will be in the developing world. Unless sustainable water solutions are scaled fast, regions already stressed for safe water sources will be over capacity. We’re expanding our reach to meet these demands and will not stop until every person has safe water to drink.
Why Charity: Water?
Simply put, Charity: Water sticks to the mission. In almost five years they have funded 4,282 water projects.
Using Google maps, they plot every water project's GPS coordinates and make a searchable database of every project that they have completed. They also provide pictures of the projects and can let you track the coordinates of the specific project that your donations helped build.