Today, millions of people around the world are forced to drink dirty, contaminated water. Nearly 1,000 children die every day as a result of drinking unsafe water and due to poor sanitation and hygiene. Fortunately, this global crisis is being addressed with vision, skill, and the life-changing magic of chemistry.
World Vision is the largest nongovernmental (NGO) provider of clean water in the developing world, reaching one new person with clean water every 10 seconds. In 2018, P&G and World Vision celebrated a decade of partnership, providing a powerful example of what can happen when the private sector and non-profit sphere work together. Their partnership pivots around the not-for-profit Children’s Safe Drinking Water program, developed to put a life-changing technology to work. Created using the same six ingredients used in municipal water treatment plants all over the world, the powder in a single P&G Purifier of Water packet can transform 10 liters (2.5 gallons) of dirty, potentially deadly, water into clean drinkable water in only 30 minutes.
The packets are used as a life-changing “bridge” strategy in water-challenged communities where World Vision works and plans to bring a permanent, clean water source. The P&G packets are also a tool in disaster response where families are experiencing severe drought, flooding, earthquakes, typhoons and conflict. This effort has helped 6.4 million people, providing 2 billion liters of clean water in 37 countries. To date, over 200 million P&G Purifier of Water packets have been distributed by World Vision’s WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) teams to rural families throughout World Vision communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
For Actress Patricia Heaton, supporting this effort and becoming a World Vision spokesperson had everything to do with this “bridge” approach to connecting short-and long-term strategies. “I’ve seen the way it’s changed people’s lives in all these places. World Vision commits twelve to fifteen years to area development programs, employing local people and ensuring that all programs are sustainable by the community,” she says.
Short-term, the packets offer a sort of instantaneous, magical solution. “I was astounded by how quickly and easily the packets work,” Heaton says. “The dirtiest water becomes crystal clear in half an hour. It’s a lifesaver both in disaster areas and in places where clean water is not yet available. These tiny packets can make a huge difference in transforming lives. Clean water is the foundation for so many other advancements in a community.”
Heaton has seen first-hand how water purification is one of the most essential ways to improving communities today and into the future. “In developing countries, women and children are generally tasked with collecting water for the family. Most often, the water they are able to find is not clean and can make their families sick. Mothers often don’t have time to properly care for their families because of the time it takes to collect water and the illness that they, themselves, contract from the water. Children often miss school and fall behind, never getting a complete education. But when clean water comes into a community, children can get an education and women can start businesses to support their families. As health and education improves, prosperity rises, as does the well-being of the whole community” she says, adding that her work on the ground for World Vision has both touched and inspired her.
“I have found that families in Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Jordan are no different than those in the U.S. Everyone wants more for their children than they’ve had; they all want their children to go to school and get a good education. Many have endured hardships that we can’t even imagine, yet they continue to work hard and have hope for the future.”
With greater access to clean water, the path forward for these communities looks increasingly clear.
To learn more and see how you can help bring clean drinking water to children all over the world, please visit www.csdw.org.