Follow us by email

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Poor and Clean Water: When One Dollar Becomes Seven

Soon, many HOPE supporters will be joining us at our cross-Canadian premieres of ‘A Thirst For Africa’, a short film that focuses on our long-term effort to provide clean water access to Ethiopia’s poorest of the poor. Clean water and sanitation is at the heart of our work with the poor. Upon investigation, it’s easy to see why.

What drives us to ensure that every child in a district drinks disease-free water is not soft-hearted sentimentality—it’s a rather hard-headed understanding of just how cost-effective and transformative this kind of initiative really is.

Consider UNICEF’s findings. Their Executive Director Carol Bellamy urges governments to invest in clean water, saying, "The money it takes to provide water and sanitation services is so small when compared to the payoffs[.]"

In fact, UNICEF said that studies show that for every $1 invested in children - including money to improve access to clean water and sanitation - $7 will be saved in the cost of long-term public services.

So when HOPE International Development Agency considers the long-term health, happiness, and prosperity of a community, we are generally on the same page as the community-members who ultimately direct our work. They say they need clean water to drink before any other anti-poverty initiative can be considered. And we agree with them. It makes excellent strategic sense.

We know that clean water means health—up to 80% reductions in deadly diseases. We know it means progress for the women in a community—as hours of their time in searching for water are spared, and girls are enabled to attend school for the first time. We know that the clear and dramatic dividends of a clean water system that a village has laboured on inspire them to go further. Clean water provides the encouragement poor villagers desperately need, if they are to continue working to elevate the prospects of their children.

There is no debate as to the value of clean water. It is a work that we feel every confidence in and it is worth every dollar that we invest in it. If you feel you want to know more, please do get in touch with us and join us at a film premiere in your city.

No comments: