Clean water is vital during disasters

See how Save the Children and P&G are bringing clean drinking water to children and families caught in some of the most challenging emergencies across the globe.

Save the Children, in partnership with P&G, is working to bring clean drinking water to children and families across the world.
Photograph by Peter Caton, Courtesy Save the Children

Partnership is powerful, especially when the challenges are the greatest, the stakes the highest, and lives depend on the joining of forces. When Save the Children partners with Procter & Gamble, they fulfill a mutual mission: to save and transform the lives of children around the world.

According to Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children, this collaboration has been vital to her organization’s work and has been enduring and widespread. “P&G is one of Save the Children's longest-standing partners, providing invaluable support to our U.S. programs since 1995 and to our international work since 2002, benefitting children and families in more than 22 countries.”

Beyond financial support, P&G has brought the power of its well-known brands to improve life for children around the world. As Miles explains, “Key components of our work together have included programs in support of adolescent health funded by Always and Tampax; hand-washing initiatives made possible by Safeguard; pneumonia prevention and treatment supported by Vicks; and provision of clean water in emergency settings through the P&G Children's Safe Drinking Water Program.”

Launched by P&G in 2004, the not-for-profit CSDW Program centers around a unique innovation from the company’s research labs—P&G Purifier of Water packets. With only a bucket, a stick, and a clean cloth, these tiny packets containing a powdered technology purify 10 liters (2.5 gallons) of dirty, potentially deadly, water into clean drinkable water in only 30 minutes. The powder’s six ingredients are all commonly used in municipal water treatment plants, but these packets make this process portable and possible anywhere in the world.

In 2006, Save the Children began putting these packets to work around the world to help deliver their own long-term vision. “Ending preventable deaths in children under-5 by 2030 is one of Save the Children’s three long-term aspirations for children,” Miles explains. “It’s a vision that we cannot realize if children risk their lives every time they drink water.”

Diseases transmitted through unsafe water are a leading cause of preventable illness and premature deaths: more than 340,000 children under five die annually from diarrheal diseases due to poor sanitation, poor hygiene, or unsafe drinking water—that is almost 1,000 children per day.

“Our first collaboration with P&G’s CSDW Program allowed us to bring clean water to Sudanese families affected by drought,” says Miles. “Since then, the program has helped Save the Children to respond to disasters across the globe—including droughts and floods across El Salvador, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda. We have also provided clean drinking water to schools as part of our School Health and Nutrition programming in Nigeria and Tajikistan.”

She went on to explain where the partnership is today. “We’re currently distributing P&G Purifier of Water packets in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and South Sudan, places where drought, conflict, flooding and the deadly threat of waterborne diseases are jeopardizing the lives of children every day. With P&G, we’ve provided approximately 400 million liters of clean water so far, and our work continues. Preventing waterborne diseases in areas impacted by drought, cholera outbreaks, and conflict can mean the difference between life and death for the most vulnerable children and their families.”

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