“Accelerating Change” is the theme of the United Nations’ World Water Day 2023, held annually on March 22 since 1993 to highlight the importance of fresh, clean water and its WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) goals for people throughout the world.
At Bread and Water for Africa® our mission of providing millions in sub-Saharan Africa with access to safe water for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing, aligns with that of the UN’s of striving to do all we can, thanks to our supporters around the country, to prevent tens of thousands more year after year from getting severely ill – or worse – every time they take a drink of water from a potentially contaminated source.
And this year’s World Water Day theme coincides with our efforts to do just that as we are continually working to expand the reach of our water program and increase the numbers annually of those who benefit from our projects, including the children –primarily girls – who spent their days walking miles fetching water for their families instead attending school.
In fact, in just the past few years we have formed partnerships with nonprofit organizations with “boots on the ground” including in Malawi – currently experiencing a deadly cholera outbreak – where rural residents had relied on “swamp water” from stagnant ponds for their daily needs before we drilled boreholes in several villages.
In Tanzania, we partnered another nonprofit based in the country to refurbish non-functioning wells which had been sitting unused for years – even decades – due to lack of maintenance and repairs. Today, it is estimated that the repaired wells in eight villages are providing clean water to approximately 12,000 individuals – every single day!
In 2022 alone, Bread and Water for Africa® provided funding for 35 clean water projects in Cameroon, Chad, Ethiopia, Malawi and Uganda benefiting more than 36,000 individuals in total.
And as we continue to “accelerate change” by transforming lives with clean water, already this year we are working our longtime partner in Zambia which provides a loving home for orphaned and abandoned children to drill 10 boreholes deep into the underground aquifer, each of which will serve an estimated 3,000 individuals, 30,000 combined!
In addition, for the first time in many years now that the political environment in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), formerly known as Zaire, is more stable, we are working with a new partner who searched the Internet seeking help to provide clean water for a school with 1,500 students and found Bread and Water for Africa®.
The organization’s executive director reached out to Bread and Water for Africa® Executive Director Beth Tessema asking for help, telling her that the school has no drinking water which leaves students and staff no choice but to drink the contaminated water from a nearby lake.
“As a result,” he told us, “not long ago, a cholera epidemic claimed the lives of many of these students.”
In addition, many in the DRC practice open defecation which spreads parasites and contaminants to the same surface water sources used for drinking, thus continuing the “vicious cycle.”
The World Economic Forum reports that in sub-Saharan Africa less than 20 percent of those living in rural areas have water connected to their homes, meaning since the water does not come to them, they must go to fetch it from whatever sources they can find… and that includes even sources they know to be unsafe.
As the UN’s World Water Day marks its 30th anniversary, we at Bread and Water for Africa® in just a few more years will be marking our own 40th anniversary of providing access to clean water to millions, and tens of thousands more this year alone who will by this December will be able to rest assured that their new water source contains healthy minerals, and not deadly diseases and parasites.