In many parts of the world, an important key to freedom and growth can be something as simple as clean water. For some women and girls in Kenya, several hours each day are routinely spent searching for and retrieving potable water for their families and communities. As basic as it may seem in other parts of the world, in these places, easy access to clean water can be life-changing and liberating, freeing up time and energy for more enriching opportunities.
Job Wasonga, Project Manager with the global poverty fighting organization CARE in Kenya, sees this first-hand. “CARE works with many of the most vulnerable households and communities of the world. In Kenya, we have projects responding to humanitarian crises as well as promoting development. We are currently working in 15 counties implementing programs on resilience, economic empowerment, sexual reproductive and maternal health, nutrition and food security, and climate change adaptation, among other efforts,” he explains. “For the Nyanza Healthy Water Program – Safe Water System Project, we work in counties where access to clean water is a challenge, child and infant mortalities are high, and women and girls are forced to walk several kilometers each day in search of clean water.”
In regions like this, what little water is available is often contaminated and unsafe to drink. This is where the P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program comes in, helping devoted professionals like Wasonga to teach families to transform contaminated water in just 30 minutes, using just a bucket, a stick, a piece of clean cloth and a P&G Purifier of Water packet. Developed by P&G laundry scientists, the powder in these tiny packets contains six basic ingredients commonly used in municipal water treatment plants in many countries. In 2004, P&G launched the not-for-profit CSDW Program with a diverse network of partners to help put these packets to use, transforming many millions of lives all over the world over the past 15 years.
As one of the original NGO partners of the CSDW Program, CARE also shares a common purpose and passion with P&G for gender equality. Lack of access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation is a major barrier to girls’ education and women’s economic opportunities.
“We’re putting these packets to use in communities that don’t have access to portable water and are exposed to diseases such as cholera and other diarrheal infections. The partnership has not only helped reduce diarrheal diseases and cholera outbreaks, it’s freed women and girls from worry about water so they can do other things,” Wasonga explains.
“The use of P&G Purifier of Water packets is magical and transformative. This powder has played a very important role in CARE’s strategies. Our main objective is to reduce poverty and reduce social exclusion. We know that women most often suffer more from this exclusion and when it comes to issues of water management,” says Wasonga. “In our culture, it is most often women and girls to fetch water for household use as well as carry out other chores. When a household member is sick, it is the same woman or girl child who takes the role of care giver. So, these packets offer freedom not only from fetching water, but also from caregiving.”
By creating more clean water and reducing illness, these packets pack a world of promise especially for women and girls.
For more information and to see how you can help, please visit please visit www.csdw.org.