Around 1.1 billion people lack access to water More than 2.5 billion people experience water shortages at least once a month. Inadequate sanitation leads to water-borne illnesses affecting 2.4 billion people every year. Every year, 1 million people die due to water-borne illnesses, inadequate sanitation, and poor hygiene. Two billion people around the world lack a basic toilet. 2 out of 5 people do not have access to soap and water for handwashing. Globally, $260 billion is wasted each year due to a lack of water and sanitation access. As of now, women face more problems due to water shortages than men. By 2025, the water crisis will worsen, with as many as 2/3 of the population facing water shortages. Water is life. But it is scarce. And the crisis is enormous. During these testing times, we need organizations such as Water.org that are working towards changing lives.
Water.org – Overview
Water.org is a non-profit organization working towards changing lives by improving access to water and basic sanitation for people worldwide. The global non-profit organization believes that water connects every aspect of life, including health, education, employment, and the economy. And by providing safe water and access to sanitation, the world can be a much safer, healthier, and more productive place to live. The organization’s goal is to provide access to safe water and basic sanitation, particularly in developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Water.org was formed as a result of a merger between H2O Africa and Water Partners International in 2009. Before the merger, both these organizations were independently working towards reducing water inequity. Gary White, a Kansas engineer and the CEO of Water.org launched Water Partners International in 1991. Several years later, he met Matt Damon, who founded H2O Africa, a non-profit, to raise awareness about safe water initiatives in the African continent.
Realizing that they can a significantly larger impact by merging, both Gary and Matt agreed to a merger, which resulted in Water.org. Now that the organization is more extensive, stronger, and has a global reach, they offer a larger platform that can serve more people and change more lives.
Why is Water Crisis a Concern?
Water.org understands that the water crisis impacts four significant areas of life, including
As mentioned earlier, 2 billion people globally lack the facility of a toilet. Moreover, 2.4 billion people suffer from water-borne illnesses every year due to inadequate sanitation. And there is another cost to health that often goes unreported. When children and women have to cover long distances with water-filled vessels, it can have a devastating impact on women’s and children’s physical well-being.
When children (especially girls) and their parents (particularly mothers) have to collect water every day, children cannot attend school. According to the numbers, children globally spend 200 million hours every day collecting water. Moreover, poor health contributes more to absenteeism and increased dropout rates.
For women, the water crisis is personal. When women search for water, they spend a combined 466 million hours each day. They spend this time finding water, bringing it home, and storing it but, more importantly, finding the right place to go because they lack toilets a home.
Combine all these lost hours in finding water and a potential toilet, and you can imagine the economic impact of the water crisis.
Role of Water.org in Controlling the Crisis
Water.org understands that only access to safe water and sanitation can solve the water crisis and reduce its impact on health, education, women’s empowerment, and economic outcome. And for that, Water.org has come up with unique solutions. These market-driven solutions are already adapted in 13 countries around Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Let’s take a look.
The core initiative provides small loans to those who need affordable financial assistance for toilet and water-related solutions. Since every individual’s reality is different, this customized, people-driven solution empowers people. Moreover, every repaid loan is lent to another family who needs financial assistance to meet their water and toilet needs. Therefore, people work hard to repay their loans so that those around them within the community struggling with the same problem can get a solution well in time.
WaterEquity is another initiative to empower families; however, it targets the capital markets and accelerates the impact. The fund invests in the portfolio of water and sanitation enterprises. As a result, there is increased capital availability required to support loans to families who need financial assistance. It is one of its kind investment initiative to fight the water crisis.
The water crisis is a global concern, and Water.org alone cannot deal with it without engaging global partners. It works with international institutions to fight the water crisis.
- Due to Water.org initiatives, more than 30 million people now have access to safe water and sanitation.
- Successful implementation of initiatives in 13 countries across four continents.
- The program has reached 13.3 million people in India only.
The impact Water.org is making on the lives of people is far beyond numbers. Initiatives by Water.org provide children with more time to complete their homework and play and live the life of a child. It gives women free time to pursue their interests which can also generate income for their families. Here is a glimpse of their impact. On a household level, initiatives by Water.org are improving the health and well-being of the family members.
Organizations like Water.org need our support. Whether you are an individual or an enterprise, you can support significant initiatives like Water.org by donating your time or money to such great causes. But there is a much simpler way of offering help. Shop online and support Water.org and other similar initiatives that are directed toward improving lives.