Nearly 1 billion people lack access to clean water, which causes hardship, disease and death.
The impact on children is particularly tragic. Each year 1.4 million die as a result of diarrhea, according to the World Health Organization. Most cases of diarrhea are attributable to polluted water and poor sanitation.
In 2009, ChildFund Zambia pilot tested the “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Improvement Training Package for the Prevention of Diarrheal Disease” developed by USAID. The goal was to get more field staff up to speed on
“The WASH program is classic evidence-based best practice that we want our projects to adopt and use worldwide,” says David Shanklin, senior health specialist for ChildFund.
When applied in school settings, WASH interventions—including gender-specific sanitation facilities, hygiene education and safe drinking water—support child health, which furthers educational access and attainment.
The way up and out of poverty can begin with a reliable source of clean water, good hygiene and sanitation. It’s a powerful concept and worthy of our ongoing support so that children can thrive.
Today, as we mark World Water Day, established by the United Nations in 1992, ChildFund is implementing water solutions with long-term positive impact.
In the Andean community of Pastocalle, located in Ecuador’s Cotopaxi Province, a new irrigation water tank is helping families improve their children’s nutrition and health.
In the past, Pastocalle families have typically produced only corn, barley and chocho, a type of gourd. Harvested just once a year, these crops required little water.
Yet, they did not provide adequate nutrition for growing children. Due to the lack of vegetables in their diet, the children of Pastocalle were deficient in vitamins and at high risk for illnesses.
With the support of ChildFund and a local indigenous organization, the community decided to expand its food crops by building a water-collection tank.
The tank provides irrigation water to small parcels of land farmed by 97 families, allowing them to produce vegetables in every season. A local committee manages the irrigation tank, and families contribute to its maintenance. Irrigation was especially critical last year, due to the dry season.
Already, Pastocalle children are benefitting from a well-balanced diet, rich with home-grown vegetables. Child illnesses are on the decline. The families have embraced organic production methods and a forestation program to help protect water sources and ensure soil recovery through crop rotation.
Although most of the vegetables are grown for the families’ consumption, a reliable water source has led to some bumper crops. The families sell the surplus vegetables at a parish fair for additional income.
Water has made a precious difference to the children of Pastocalle.
by Cynthia Price
Director of Communications
Wow! Two weeks into ChildFund International’s Fund a Project, and one of the projects is already fully funded. Thank you!
In Timor Leste, children and families have to walk for up to 40 minutes to reach a water source for potable water. So, one of our priority projects was water pumps for these rural families. The cost was $2,857 and thanks to you, it’s now funded.
Installing water pumps within or near the communities is about much more than ending the trek to get water. It means that the children and families will have access to water that does not make them sick, cutting down on diseases that can be deadly.
It means that children won’t spend their time walking to get water and won’t be so tired. Ultimately, this means that it will be much easier for children to go to school, to interact with other children, to learn and grow.
And that’s only one project. Eight other projects remain to be funded. As these projects are funded, new ones will take their place. Each project requires thousands of dollars to make them happen. For those of us who want to make a difference, but aren’t able to make a large one-time donation, Fund a Project is perfect.
Each person gives what he or she is comfortable with contributing and, collectively, the donations add up to fund the project. It’s a great way for a few, or many, of us to come together to support a program and bring it to life.
The barometers on each of the projects are moving. I gave to the playgrounds in Afghanistan, which is now about 1 percent funded – a start. I’d love to see the barometer move up more quickly. I may have to give up one of my weekly coffee runs and help inch the barometer closer to “funded.”
How will you make a difference?
Information and photos submitted by Jane Nandawula Okumu
Communications Manager, ChildFund Uganda
For the past 21 years, a water pump that ChildFund set up in the Nsinda village in Uganda has provided safe water to hundreds of families. Today, more than 700 families use this pump daily to obtain water for cleaning, cooking and drinking.
“We come here to fetch water. After school, we fetch water’’ says Ismail, a child who uses the water pump often.
The pump was a sponsor’s gift in 1988 to a sponsored child and to the community. It was the first ever protected water source in that village.
Recently, a photographer captured some great images of what this water source means to the community and its children. Here’s a look:
For more information about Uganda, click here.
More on Uganda
Population: 32.3 million
ChildFund beneficiaries: More than 650,000 children and families
Did You Know?: Uganda is a birdwatcher’s paradise — there are more than 1,000 species of birds in this African nation.
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