Our goal is for everyone to have access to clean water in every community where we work by 2030. But is this really possible?
This World Water Day, see why our Vice President for clean water, Dr. Greg Allgood, believes that we can achieve this goal … together.
*Photo: Claudine in Rwanda receives clean water through World Vision! (Photo: Dr. Greg Allgood/World Vision)
The UN’s World Water Day is today, March 22, and this year’s World Water Day is the first since World Vision made a commitment to provide clean water to everyone, everywhere we work by 2030. Our commitment is consistent with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed by governments last September, which established a 2030 date to end the global water crisis.
Today, I’m asking myself—are these goals really achievable or is this just a matter of trying to do as much as we can by 2030? Can we envision a world, less than 15 years from now, where the global water crisis is behind us? A world that no longer witnesses nearly 1,000 children dying every day from unsafe water, poor sanitation, and hygiene. From a moral perspective, we must act and act now. But I’d also argue that from a logical perspective, there’s real hope that we can solve this crisis by 2030.
From a case in point, let’s look at Rwanda. In our work to reach everyone, everywhere we work, Rwanda might be the first place where we get the job done. If we take a look back at Rwanda, we see a country that was devastated by the 1994 genocide that took the lives of 800,000 people. Coming out of the genocide, less than one-third of people in rural areas had access to clean water. But now Rwanda is back on her feet and making tremendous progress.
In the last 15 years, the percentage of people with clean water in Rwanda has doubled. This still leaves nearly one-third of people in rural areas without clean water, but by working with the Rwandan government and with many partners, there’s real hope that everyone will have clean water … years before the 2030 deadline.
For example, World Vision has reached nearly one quarter of a million Rwandans with clean water in the last five years. Last year alone, we reached nearly one hundred thousand people in Rwanda by providing more than 1,000 water points. And we accomplished this while our staff also responded to a crisis of Burundi refugees fleeing into Rwanda. Last year, working with UNICEF and UNHCR, World Vision provided clean water access to more than 43,000 refugees from Burundi.
This work in Rwanda is typical of what we’ll face as we work to end the global water crisis. We’ll face refugee situations—as we are currently in Syria. We’ll work in very difficult situations, like the current famine and drought in Ethiopia. And we will need to move off the map to new countries, like our new efforts in Somalia. Our local staff are my personal heroes in facing these difficult situations and delivering life-saving results. Their love for the poor sets them apart. So while the results in Rwanda are typical, they’re typically remarkable.
Three years ago, I had the honor of hosting President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton in Rwanda to see World Vision’s work in partnership with Procter & Gamble. President Clinton praised our partnership by stating, "Let me say how grateful I am to both P&G, one of the greatest companies in the world in terms of its responsibilities to society, and to World Vision, one of the great treasures of NGOs, and the fact that they're doing this together means a lot to me." Our partnership with P&G continues and, in fact, more than 8,000 families were reached last year in Rwanda with the P&G water purification packets as a way to provide clean and purified water to some of the most remote families.
President Clinton challenged us to work together, stating that if everyone does their part, then we can easily solve the global water crisis. And that’s exactly how we’re going to get the job done.
World Vision needs our donors and partners and the collaboration with the Rwandan government in order to reach everyone, everywhere we work. Together, we are greater than unclean water. Together, we are greater than poverty.
This World Water Day, join us in our goal to achieve universal coverage of clean water access everywhere that we work by 2030, and to end the global water crisis! Make a donation to help provide clean water today.