When you woke up this morning, did you beeline it to the coffee maker? Have you eaten pasta or sipped tea this week? After using the restroom, did you wash your hands? (We hope so!) Did you need to wash any surfaces after handling raw meat while cooking? If you have access to safe water, it may be difficult to imagine how your daily activities would look different without timely access to this vital resource.
Clean, running water is such a commonplace aspect of most of our lives in North America, that the convenience of such a critical need can easily be taken for granted. However, if you are one of the 844 million people around the globe who do not have access to safe water, gaining clean water is cause for celebration.
This Friday is World Water Day, and we are highlighting some of the incredible water projects at our CarePoints around the globe!
Local leaders in Ethiopia have created an innovative project that not only brings safe water to large communities, but it also employs over 100 guardians and caregivers of children who attend our CarePoints! There are three water kiosks that bring safe water to concentrated populations in Awassa Ukro, Hosanna Emmanuel and Enat. The water comes from the Ethiopian water authority, who sells the water to HopeChest for a reduced cost. Built in the center of high-traffic markets, on busy days nearly 45,000 people pass through, making it the perfect location for business. These kiosks also have storefronts where items such as snacks, pens, hygiene items and other goods are sold. The guardians manage both the water for customers and the storefront. Five guardians work at each of the six water kiosks and are employed there for a term of two years.
To work at the kiosks, the guardians are selected by a committee and go through business training, which includes basic accounting, keeping track of sales, and reading the water meters. As an initial business loan, HopeChest stocked the storefront with goods. At the end of the guardians’ two years, they use part of the money they earned to restock the storefront for the next rotation of employees. By this time, guardians make enough profit to open up their own small businesses.
This income-generating project brings hope to guardians and caregivers who are then able to provide for their children while receiving occupational training and gaining the financial resources they need to open up their own businesses!
Through Community-to-Community partnerships, clean water is being provided to numerous communities in Uganda! At the Ogoloi CarePoint, the connect community partner helped raise money to build a well that gives over 3,000 people in the community access to clean water. The well is not exclusively used by the CarePoint, but is open for everyone in the community. When community members visit the water point, they have the opportunity to meet HopeChest staff who get to know each family and their strengths as well as their challenges. Being able to provide safe water for the community strengthens HopeChest’s relationship with the members of that community as well as the community leaders. Gaining safe water is cause for celebration and dancing in the Ogoloi community!
Many CarePoints in Swaziland have implemented solar-powered water pumps! This not only has a positive impact on the communities’ energy usage, but it also has increased the overall health of the individuals in these communities. When children have to travel far to get water they become vulnerable for assault and trafficking. By providing water in their community, the CarePoint decreases the probability of harm coming to the children who seek water. Similarly, when the guardians of the children we serve have to travel to gain clean water, they lose time (even up to six or seven hours) that they could be working, pursuing education, or seeking employment opportunities. Having access to clean water is not only a health issue, it is also an economic issue, as it is estimated that billions of dollars a year in economic benefits are lost when individuals are traveling for clean water instead of being able to work.
Bringing safe water to entire communities often takes ingenuity. For this reason, we are incredibly grateful for the innovation of our in-country staff and their tireless work bringing vital resources to their communities, and nations!
This March 22, we encourage you to think about the water you use in thankfulness. If your community is passionate about impacting global poverty, including the water crisis, check out our Get Involved page on how you can get involved in a life-changing partnership!