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Water CrisisDespite recent growth in the economy, Uganda is facing a national water crisis. Almost 24 million people in Uganda do not have access to clean water. On average each person in Uganda uses only about 4.7 gallons of water a day. Communities need clean water sources for drinking, cooking, farming and general personal hygiene. Clean water scarcity creates difficulties for all of these basic needs and negatively impacts the economy.

What Uganda’s Water Crisis Looks Like

Although Uganda experienced three decades of a growing economy, almost 40% of Ugandans still live on less than a dollar a day. In addition to its history of poverty, many people in Uganda struggle to find clean water. Traditionally, communities with high poverty rates rely heavily on natural water sources because they lack the technology to build wells and plumbing. The lack of clean water sources in impoverished communities propels the cycle of poverty.

A video by a global relief organization called Generosity.org documents the lives of Ugandans who struggle to find clean water. The video features a Ugandan mother, Hanna Augustino, who spends three hours a day getting water for her family of nine. Hanna explains that the water is so dirty it has worms and gives them diseases like Typhoid Fever. However, when the family gets sick, they cannot afford to go to the hospital. The lack of clean water in an already impoverished community leads to disease. In 2015 Uganda experienced a Typhoid Fever outbreak that was mainly due to contaminated water sources. For many in these communities, medical care is unaffordable. The water crisis causes a need for medical care for a treatable disease. The need for more medical care creates more financial hardship on families already struggling in poverty.

Economic Impacts

In addition to disease, collecting water is very time-consuming. In some areas like Hanna’s, it can take hours to retrieve water.  People spend hours getting water instead of working to provide income for their families or as caregivers themselves. Water retrieval is another aspect of the water crisis that negatively impacts local economies and continues the cycle of poverty.

Farmers are some of the most negatively impacted by the water crisis. Farming and agriculture make up a large part of the Ugandan economy. Poverty-stricken communities need water sources for irrigation and farming, which some families rely on as a household income. About 24% of Uganda’s GDP comes from agriculture. This portion of the economy is dependent on clean, accessible water sources. Without clean water sources, farmers’ animals and crops would die. Without farmers, local communities would have no food. As a result, farmers are an important local resource for local communities and an important cog in local economies.

 A Helping Hand

Despite the rippling effects of the water crisis, there are many organizations working to alleviate the crisis. For instance, Lifewater is an organization that funds “water projects.” These projects build clean water sources for villages that have none. Lifewater is currently funding 220 water projects in Uganda alone.  If you are interested in learning more about Lifewater, you can go to their website at Lifewater.org.

Lifewater is one of many organizations working to provide villages in Uganda with clean water. Along with being essential to human life, water can affect many different aspects of daily life. Spending hours fetching water or drinking dirty, disease-ridden water can negatively impact the local economy. Any negative impact on the economy is especially devastating for communities already affected by poverty. Like Lifewater, there are many organizations bettering local economies through their clean water efforts.

Kaitlyn Gilbert
Photo: Flickr

nonprofits that provide clean waterClean drinking water is a necessity that many in developed countries rarely ponder about. Yet, for more than 780 million people around the world, clean drinking water is a luxury that is difficult to access. Because of this widespread lack of clean water, more than 3.4 million people die every year from causes related to poor water and sanitation. Nevertheless, there are many nonprofit organizations that have made it their mission to address this global clean water crisis. Here are five nonprofits that provide clean water to the world.

5 Nonprofits that Provide Clean Water

  1. Charity: Water – One of the most widely known nonprofits that provide clean water to the world is Charity: Water. Scott Harrison founded the organization in New York City in 2006 after he witnessed the life-threatening effects of contaminated water in Liberia. Charity: Water is a nonprofit that brings clean and safe drinking water to developing countries. It has funded 38,113 water programs in 27 developing countries for more than 9.6 million people in Africa, Asia, Central and South America. Throughout the past nine years, the organization has dug more than 16,000 water projects, set new standards for donor engagement and public communication and raised more than $200 million from donors. Every penny of Charity: Water’s donations go directly to clean water technologies.
  2. Blood:WaterBlood:Water is a nonprofit that has partnered with grassroots organizations in sub-Saharan Africa to bring clean water and HIV/AIDS support to African communities since 2004. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, the organization was founded by the multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning band Jars of Clay and activist Jena Lee Nardellaone. Blood:Water provides an array of solutions for different African community’s needs. In addition, to providing HIV/AIDS community care and support and capacity building for its African partners, Blood:Water provides water, sanitation and hygiene solutions, such as wells, toilets and handwashing stations. This organization has worked with more than a dozen African grassroots organizations and has brought clean water to one million people in 11 different countries.
  3. Water.org – When actor Matt Damon and Gary White merged their organizations, H2O Africa and WaterPartners, they formed Water.org in 2009. Its headquarters is currently in Kansas City, Missouri. Water.org provides access to safe water and sanitation in developing countries. It works with local partner organizations to build wells and provide thorough training seminars on the importance of good hygiene practices and its link to better health. Water.org created the WaterCredit system as a long-term solution, which provides household sanitation and safe water by giving expert resources and small loans. This organization works in 13 countries and has provided safe water and sanitation to more than 21 million people. Its commitment to providing safe water and sanitation to everyone is why it has great ratings and is ranked in the top 10 percent of global charities in regard to its financial accountability and transparency.
  4. Lifewater International – As the oldest organization on this list of nonprofits that provide clean water to the world, Lifewater International was established in 1977 by William A. Ashe. Headquartered in San Luis Obispo, California, Lifewater’s mission is to “end the global water and sanitation crisis one village at a time.” It focuses on managing training sessions for field staffers in fields such as water treatment, sanitation, community health through hygiene, well drilling, hand pump repair, effective community development and WASH in schools. This organization takes great pride in its transparency and accountability and performs systematic checks on projects even after they are completed. Since its inception, Lifewater has helped 2.5 million people across 45 countries.
  5. Generosity.org – The final organization on this list of nonprofits that provide clean water to the world is Generosity.org. Philip Wagner founded the organization in 2008 with a commitment to “providing clean water for drinking and sanitation needs, one community at a time.” It is headquartered in Valley Village, California. Generosity.org collaborates with its local partners to utilize their knowledge and expertise to select the proper water solution for each region. These solutions include rain-harvesting systems, wells and spring protection systems. To date, Generosity.org has helped 470,000 people, funded 813 water projects and served 20 countries.

Unclean water is an issue that still needs to be solved in many developing countries. The above list describes some of the most widely known nonprofits that provide clean water to the world. Like many of the other crises the developing world faces, the work of these and other organizations may make the global water crisis an issue of the past.

– Jacob Stubbs
Photo: Flickr

Providing Clean Water: 3 Beauty Brands that HelpShampooing hair, showering, washing hands after the bathroom- these are all examples of things that are easily taken for granted in the developed world. But 844 million people lack access to safe water around the world and 2.3 billion lack access to proper sanitation. BROO, Aveda and Ollie and Otto are three hair care companies that have partnered with different charity organizations in a goal of providing clean water for the millions of people that are currently living without it.

BROO & Water.org

With every Broo product purchased, one person is provided with the access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation. Water.org believes the biggest barrier to clean water is affordable financing and knows that charity alone is not a long-term solution for having clean water. By partnering with WaterCredit, Water.org is providing loans to families for only $322. The goal of these loans is to provide families with water connections and toilets. Having water in homes costs only a fraction of what it does to buy clean water from vendors, which could cost as much as 20 percent of a family’s income.

Once the loans are paid back, the funds turn into another loan for a family in need, continuing the cycle of providing clean water and getting families out of poverty. Ninety-nine percent of these loans are paid back in full. Since WaterCredit started, 2.6 million in loans have been disbursed.

Without clean water in the home, women and children in some places spend six hours a day walking to gather clean water. Clean water supply changes people’s lives by giving them more time to get an education and better health. Providing clean water to communities in need ends the cycle of poverty by giving them access to things that previously were not available.

Aveda & Global Greengrants Foundation

Aveda celebrates Earth Month every April by raising funds and increasing awareness for the environment and people lacking clean water. By selling Light the Way Candles, Aveda has raised over $50 million for clean water projects since 2007.

All of the proceeds go to Aveda’s partner Global Greengrants Foundation and support grants that are providing clean water to those in need. Global Greengrants and Aveda have provided 920,000 people with clean water through projects in 85 different countries. Projects include things like “helping communities advocate for safe and affordable drinking water, protecting watersheds such as lakes, wetlands and rivers, helping communities address climate change which contributes to water shortages and scarcity around the globe.”

In April 2018, Head Technology Trainer Godliver Businge of the Uganda Women’s Water Initiative in Gomba, Uganda, taught women in the community how to build Biosand filters that kill 99 percent of bacteria in contaminated water.

With funds from Global Greengrants and Aveda, Gomba is now a prosperous community that can afford to buy textbooks and other school supplies for the children. Buswinge continues to teach women how to build Biosand filters, which in turn reduces the poverty rate and increases health.

Uganda Women’s Water Initiative is also teaching women about bio-intensive farming and how to make soap. Three hundred women are now trained in how to make Biosand filters and rainwater harvesting tanks.

Ollie and Otto & Generosity.org

Ollie & Otto partnered with Generosity.org to provide clean water for one person in yearly period for every product purchased. So far, the partnership is supporting clean water projects in Haiti, India and Africa.

Since Generosity.org started, they have helped 20 countries gain access to clean water and proper sanitation. According to this organization, teaching people to wash their hands and properly use latrines saves more lives than any vaccine.

Funded by partners like Ollie & Otto and other companies, Generosity.org has funded 813 projects and 470,000 people.

Clean water and proper sanitation give people access to a better life. Without the need for a time-consuming gathering of water or health care costs of water born disease, communities now have the time and money to provide an education for their children and to earn more income by working.

Companies like Broo, Aveda and Ollie & Otto are paving the way towards providing clean water and proper hygiene and sanitation for communities that deserve to be lifted out of poverty.

– Hope Kelly

Photo: Flickr