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Clean Water Is The First Step

World Water Day: How far would you walk for water?

Like the air we breathe, water is essential in our lives. But for at least 2.1 billion people, clean water is still out of reach. Did you know that disease from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kills more people each year than all forms of violence, including war? Did you know that one in four primary schools have no drinking water service, with students using unprotected sources or going thirsty? What about the fact that women and girls are responsible for water collection in eight out of ten households with water off-premises? The truth is access to clean water is deeply linked to poverty. And that’s why the theme of this year’s World Water Day is ‘Leave no one behind,’—building off the central promise of Sustainable Development Goal 6 to ensure the availability of water to all by 2030. According to the UN, the most marginalized people are often overlooked or face discrimination when trying to access water: women, children, refugees, indigenous people, and people with disabilities. At Oxfam, water is central to almost every aspect of our work—our humanitarian responses, our campaigns, and our long-term initiatives to help families improve their incomes, reduce their vulnerability to disasters, and defend their rights. This World Water Day we challenged people on the streets of Boston to see how far they could carry 5 gallons of water. On average, women and children in developing countries walk 3.7 miles and carry 5 gallons everyday day to bring clean water home to their families. How far do you walk for water? In Yemen, more than 2,500 people—many under the age of 5—have died from cholera as the result of poor access to clean water. Since war began in the region, Oxfam has provided humanitarian aid to more than three million people, including repairing water systems and trucking in water to help displaced people and other at-risk communities. In Syria, we have provided clean water to 2 million people and are working on solid waste management. We are providing around 185,000 gallons of chlorinated water daily in the Teknaf area, Bangladesh, as part of our response to the Rohingya crisis. And in the Democratic Republic of the Congo we have started the construction of a pipeline that will provide safe water to more than 80,000 people. For Oxfam, tackling the root causes of poverty often means addressing these water-related injustices. Water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate…
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Water within reach: Compare two 5-year-olds’ walk for water

In sub-Saharan Africa, 319 million people worry about where and how they’ll get enough water. Without access to an improved water source, their days revolve around a walk for water: gathering enough to cook, clean, bathe — and of course, drink. The task of collecting water falls mainly to women and children, especially girls, who carry water an average of 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) a day. Some walk much farther, while others — especially those living in a community where World Vision has sponsorship programs — walk far less. Meet two of them: Cheru and Kamama. Both 5-year-olds live in rural Kenya, and like millions of African children, they help their mothers carry water every day. Though they live just 16 miles apart, for one, getting water is a three-hour struggle; for the other, it’s a seven-minute stroll. Walk with them. Cheru walks for dirty water Age: 5 Location: West Pokot County, Kenya Distance to water: 6.88 kilometers, or 4.27 miles, round trip Time spent on each trip: 3 hours, 32 minutes Cheru drinks the last of her warm milk tea — her usual breakfast — and hands the tin cup to her mother, Monica, to wash. Her older sister, Dina, waits for her, jerrycan in hand. Cheru stands on tiptoe to pull down the tea kettle hanging on the side of a woven wood stand where clean dishes dry in the sun. The girls hurry to join other children with jerrycans large and small, and the group sets out walking on an hours-long journey to get the water their families’ lives depend on. The sun climbs higher and hotter in the clear sky as if to melt the sand and rocks of the dry Kesot River bed. Slowing their pace, the children, ranging in age from 5 to 12, skirt the bluffs and linger in the shade of trees. Sweat beading on her forehead, Cheru falls behind. She stops, swaps the kettle to her other hand, and plunges ahead to catch up at the next resting place. The youngest of the group, Cheru follows the older children and tries to do what they do. At the waterhole Cheru’s battered aluminum tea kettle holds enough water for her morning tea, but little more. When she digs in the sandy riverbed with the lid and scoops enough water to fill her kettle, it’s not enough to cook a meal or wash dishes. Even…
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Curious Kids: how is water made?

What is water and where did it come from? You’ve probably heard of atoms, the tiniest building blocks of all matter in the Universe. We are all made of atoms stuck together (or, as scientists would say, “bonded”). Atoms bonded together to form molecules. A molecule of pure water is made of two hydrogen atoms bonded to an oxygen atom. As explained in a previous Curious Kids article, scientists think the water on Earth may have come from the melting of water-rich minerals during the formation of the planet and icy comets that, billions of years ago, smashed into Earth and melted. Why can’t we just make more? While making small volumes of pure water in a lab is possible, it’s not practical to “make” large volumes of water by mixing hydrogen and oxygen together. The reaction is expensive, releases lots of energy, and can cause really massive explosions. While the total volume of water on Earth stays about the same, water continually changes location and state. That means sometimes it is a liquid (like the water we drink), a solid (ice) or a gas (water vapour such as steam). Scientists call this process of change the hydrologic (water) cycle, which is where water constantly moves around the world by cycling between the air, the ground and the ocean. Round and round The cycle begins when water is evaporated from the ocean (or lakes, rivers and wetlands) and enters the atmosphere (the air all around us) as water vapour (gas). As warm, water-rich air rises, it cools down and can hold less water. As a result, clouds form. Eventually, the water vapour changes back to liquid water and falls to Earth as rain. Rain that’s not immediately evaporated back into the atmosphere either flows into the ocean as runoff or is absorbed into the earth and becomes groundwater – water stored underground in the tiny spaces within rocks. Plants can suck up groundwater with their roots, and push water out through tiny holes in their leaves (this is called transpiration). Groundwater flows slowly through the earth to the ocean and the cycle begins again. The hydrologic cycle is sensitive to changes in temperature and pressure. For example, if it is hot and windy, more evaporation occurs. Therefore, climate change impacts the hydrologic cycle. Regions that were once wet can become dry (and vice-versa) because clouds drop their rain into the ocean instead of upon…
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The Water Crisis is a Women’s Issue

Access to clean water changes life for women and girls around the world. Resilient. Entrepreneurial. Creative. Those are just a few of the words we could use to describe the incredible women we’ve met over the years. These are women who raise families, start businesses, and perfect their crafts. Women who are capable of so much—especially when they’re relieved of their 40-pound (about 20 kilos) Jerry Cans and their long, dangerous walks for water. But the reality is, women and girls are disproportionately responsible for collecting water in nearly every developing region. As we spend this month celebrating and observing International Women’s Day and World Water Day, we want to share that reality with you. Because while water is a human issue, it’s first and foremost, a women’s issue. For women, collecting water steals time We’ve met young girls who walk in the 115ºF (46ºC) heat of the Sahel Desert to collect water from 1,000-year-old holes. We’ve met women in Ethiopia who walk to the river before sunrise and don’t get back until after lunch. We’ve even met mothers in Mali who sometimes sleep next to an open water source so they can be first in line when the water refills the next morning. That time adds up. Worldwide, women and girls spend an estimated 200 million hours every single day collecting water.2 This burden robs women and girls of time to learn, time to be a kid, time to earn an income, time to rest, and time spent with family. For hundreds of millions of people, being born female means life revolves around water collection. Everything else comes second. For women, collecting water limits opportunities When we met 8-year-old Rita in Nepal, she was crouched down at the front of a long line, scooping water from a rocky basin into her metal water container. It was just after 6 a.m., and Rita and her mother had been waiting in line to collect water for their family of nine since 3 a.m. This isn’t an uncommon experience for young girls living in rural, mountainous parts of Nepal. Every day, they can spend hours waiting in line for the nearby source to refill or trek miles down the mountain to another dirty water source far below. But this situation isn’t unique to Nepal. For girls all over the world, not having access to clean water means a life filled with more responsibility than…
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6 Reasons Why You Should Drink Plenty of Water

Water is an essential nutrient our body depends upon for optimal health and fitness. It keeps us hydrated and assists with vital processes at every level of functioning in the human body. If you’re physically active, research has shown that water is the most important nutrient in sports nutrition. Here are some of the key reasons why you need to stay hydrated—even if you aren’t an athlete.The Health Benefits of Water1 Water Is an Essential Nutrient The human body is made up of over 60 percent water. Research continues to report positive findings on why drinking plenty of water every day is essential to good health.  Our bodies need water to maintain hydration, digestive, heart, and lung function, joint lubrication, protection of tissues, regulation of body temperature, and much more. Water can be considered our lifeline and its health benefits are endless. It keeps us feeling, functioning, and even looking our best.1https://988a6a0566be6f40e3a2d99a244869a6.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html2 Water Helps With Weight Loss Some studies suggest that increasing your water may help in the weight loss process, especially when consumed instead of other high-calorie beverages. Replacing calorie-sweetened beverages with water can result in weight loss as well by reducing overall calorie intake.2 Drinking a glass of water before a meal has shown to decrease appetite3, aid in digestion and boost metabolism.4 People often confuse thirst for hunger, which can promote weight gain. Proper hydration has been linked to better portion control and improved weight loss results.2How Water Boosts Weight Loss Nutrition experts often recommend assessing your fluid intake if you are feeling fatigued. Inadequate hydration can lead to feelings of tiredness and fatigue.5 A simple test for dehydration versus hunger has shown to help with portion control.  Drinking water throughout the day can also reduce the desire to consume sugar sodas or juices. A study on water-induced thermogenesis demonstrated that drinking cold water increases energy expenditure in the body. The increase in energy appears to be created by the body’s effort to warm the water up to body temperature.2 This theory would help explain the boost to metabolism and increased weight loss.  But keep in mind that the study had substantial limitations and this is not a magical way to lose weight. This study only included 50 girls for a short amount of time (8 weeks). More research is needed to confirm this theory.Why Drinking Cold Water Burns More Calorieshttps://988a6a0566be6f40e3a2d99a244869a6.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html3 Water Reduces Belly Bloat Holding water or feeling bloated can feel uncomfortable. It’s typically caused by poor digestion, increased sodium…
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1 in 3 people globally do not have access to safe drinking water – UNICEF, WHO

New report on inequalities in access to water, sanitation and hygiene also reveals more than half of the world does not have access to safe sanitation services. Billions of people around the world are continuing to suffer from poor access to water, sanitation, and hygiene, according to a new report by UNICEF and the World Health Organization. Some 2.2 billion people around the world do not have safely managed* drinking water services, 4.2 billion people do not have safely managed sanitation services, and 3 billion lack basic** handwashing facilities. The Joint Monitoring Programme report, Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2000-2017: Special focus on inequalities finds that, while significant progress has been made toward achieving universal access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene, there are huge gaps in the quality of services provided. “Mere access is not enough. If the water isn’t clean, isn’t safe to drink or is far away, and if toilet access is unsafe or limited, then we’re not delivering for the world’s children,” said Kelly Ann Naylor, Associate Director of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, UNICEF. “Children and their families in poor and rural communities are most at risk of being left behind. Governments must invest in their communities if we are going to bridge these economic and geographic divides and deliver this essential human right.” The report reveals that 1.8 billion people have gained access to basic drinking water services since 2000, but there are vast inequalities in the accessibility, availability, and quality of these services. It is estimated that 1 in 10 people (785 million) still lack basic services, including the 144 million who drink untreated surface water. The data shows that 8 in 10 people living in rural areas lacked access to these services and in one in four countries with estimates for different wealth groups, coverage of basic services among the richest was at least twice as high as among the poorest. “Countries must double their efforts on sanitation or we will not reach universal access by 2030,” said Dr. Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. “If countries fail to step up efforts on sanitation, safe water, and hygiene, we will continue to live with diseases that should have been long ago consigned to the history books: diseases like diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A and neglected tropical diseases including trachoma, intestinal worms, and schistosomiasis. Investing in…
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WALKING FOR WATER

In this inspiring story of individual activism, a boy recognizes gender inequality when his sister must stop attending school — and decides to do something about it. Victor is very close to his twin sister, Linesi. But now that they have turned eight years old, she no longer goes to school with him. Instead, Linesi, like the other older girls in their community, walks to the river to get water five times a day, to give their mother more time for farming. Victor knows this is the way it has always been. But he has begun learning about equality at school, and his teacher has asked the class to consider whether boys and girls are treated equally. Though he never thought about it before, Victor realizes they’re not. And it’s not fair to his sister. So Victor comes up with a plan to help. Based on a true story of a Malawian boy, award-winning author Susan Hughes’s inspiring book celebrates how one person can make a big difference in the lives of others. It’s a perfect starting point for children to explore themes of gender inequality and unequal access to education, as well as the lack of clean water in some parts of the world. Nicole Miles’s appealing artwork in this graphic novel/picture book hybrid format adds emotional context to the story. Also included are information about education and water availability in Malawi, resources and a glossary of Chichewa words. Part of the CitizenKid collection and featuring a growth mindset, this important book has links to social studies lessons on global communities and cultures, as well as to character education lessons on initiative, fairness and adaptability. Contact us for more information.

Water within reach: Compare two 5-year-olds’ walk for water

In sub-Saharan Africa, 319 million people worry about where and how they’ll get enough water. Without access to an improved water source, their days revolve around a walk for water: gathering enough to cook, clean, bathe — and of course, drink. The task of collecting water falls mainly to women and children, especially girls, who carry water an average of 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) a day. Some walk much farther, while others — especially those living in a community where World Vision has sponsorship programs — walk far less. Meet two of them: Cheru and Kamama. Both 5-year-olds live in rural Kenya, and like millions of African children, they help their mothers carry water every day. Though they live just 16 miles apart, for one, getting water is a three-hour struggle; for the other, it’s a seven-minute stroll. Walk with them. Cheru walks for dirty water Age: 5 Location: West Pokot County, Kenya Distance to water: 6.88 kilometers, or 4.27 miles, round trip Time spent on each trip: 3 hours, 32 minutes Cheru drinks the last of her warm milk tea — her usual breakfast — and hands the tin cup to her mother, Monica, to wash. Her older sister, Dina, waits for her, jerrycan in hand. Cheru stands on tiptoe to pull down the tea kettle hanging on the side of a woven wood stand where clean dishes dry in the sun. The girls hurry to join other children with jerrycans large and small, and the group sets out walking on a hours-long journey to get the water their families’ lives depend on. The sun climbs higher and hotter in the clear sky as if to melt the sand and rocks of the dry Kesot River bed. Slowing their pace, the children, ranging in age from 5 to 12, skirt the bluffs and linger in the shade of trees. Sweat beading on her forehead, Cheru falls behind. She stops, swaps the kettle to her other hand, and plunges ahead to catch up at the next resting place. The youngest of the group, Cheru follows the older children and tries to do what they do. At the waterhole Cheru’s battered aluminum tea kettle holds enough water for her morning tea, but little more. When she digs in the sandy riverbed with the lid and scoops enough water to fill her kettle, it’s not enough to cook a meal or wash dishes. Even…
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Easy Things You Can Do To Protect Drinking Water Sources

Put up signs Post signs along the border of your source water protection area to notify people that any pollution in that area can affect the quality of local drinking water. Use and dispose of harmful materials properly Don’t dump hazardous waste on the ground. It can contaminate the soil, which could also contaminate the groundwater or nearby surface water. A number of products used at home contain hazardous or toxic substances that can contaminate ground or surface waters, such as: Motor oil Pesticides Leftover paints or paint cans Mothballs Flea collars Household cleaners A number of medicines Don’t overuse pesticides or fertilizers. Many fertilizers and pesticides contain hazardous chemicals. These can travel through the soil and contaminate groundwater. If you feel you must use these chemicals, please remember to use them in moderation. Volunteer in your community Find a watershed or wellhead protection organization or a source water collaborative in your community and volunteer to help. If there are no active groups, consider starting one. Use the Source Water Collaborative’s How to Collaborate Tool Kitto get started. Join in a beach, stream or wetland cleanup You can make new friends while you help protect source water. Prepare a presentation about your watershed for a school or civic organization Discuss water quality threats, including the dangers of polluted runoff and habitat loss. In your presentation, highlight actions people can take to protect water quality, such as limiting fertilizer use and eliminating the use of herbicides and pesticides. Organize a storm drain stenciling project Stencil a message next to the street drain. This will remind people not to dump waste into a street drain because the water drains to the river. Use simple images and words when stenciling to help make the connection, such as: Fish Lakes Streams Bays Groundwater Oceans “Protect Your Water” logo with the image of a glass and faucet You can also use stencils to produce and distribute a flyer to your neighbors. Remind residents that storm drains dump directly into their local water source.

When You Walk for Water, You Make a Difference

Posted January 8th, 2019 by Kerry Dodson, Director of Events and Engagement. HEADQUARTERS OUR SUPPORTERS SAFE WATER Today, I moved through my regular routine: I rolled out of bed, brushed my teeth, and took a shower. Hours later, I strolled over to the water cooler at work to fill up my water bottle. Throughout the day, I used the bathroom, washed my hands, refilled the water bottle, cooked dinner, and threw a load of laundry into the washing machine. But not once did I think about where I was going to get water, whether it would be safe to walk 25 steps to the water cooler, or whether the water itself was safe. Not once. Every day, billions of people do have to think about where they will get the day’s water and whether or not it will make them ill. Today, 2.1 billion people around the world lack access to safe drinking water. That’s one-third of the world’s population. The impact of the global water crisis is both widespread and tragic. One person dies every 37 seconds from a water-related illness, and 50 percent of the hospital beds in the developing world are filled with people suffering from water-related diseases. Women are especially affected, spending 200 million hours each day collecting water for their families. And the water they work so hard to get is usually not safe to drink. The global water crisis is real. It’s urgent. But there is hope. And you can help provide that hope to people around the world by participating in Water Mission’s annual Walk for Water on Saturday, March 30, 2019, in North Charleston, SC, or by finding a regional walk near you. The three-mile, the experiential route will demonstrate what life is like for people around the world who walk for water every day. Stories, facts, and visuals will guide you through Riverfront Park to Water Mission’s international headquarters where you will see the transformative impact of safe water firsthand. When you participate in the Walk, form a team, and raise support, you are directly combating the global water crisis. Your participation brings much-needed awareness to the lack of safe water around the world. And every dollar you raise helps to transform someone’s life. It’s simple — RECRUIT: Talk to your friends, church, and co-workers about forming a Walk for Water team. REGISTER: Register yourself and your team to reserve your 2019 Walk for Water T-shirt. (Click here.) RAISE SUPPORT: Personally ask 10 people…
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