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On Saturday, May 6, 2017, my daughters and I will be joining people from around the globe to walk or run 6 kilometers to support World Vision’s water initiatives through the World Vision Global 6K for Water. 6 kilometers (approximately 3.7 miles) is the average distance that people in the developing world, often women and young girls like my daughters and I, have to walk for water each day. This walk can be dangerous, and the water is often contaminated with life-threatening diseases.
I've noticed that since we have been getting ready and training for this 6K, that there are so many times that we take for granted the access we have to clean water. Especially when we are on walks ourselves. When we are exercising and get thirsty, we don't have to go farther than our kitchen for water that is safe to drink. It is hard for us all to imagine what it is like not to have access to clean water, but as we are training I've started sharing some facts with my daughters to help them understand more about this serious issue so that they know why it is so important for them to get involved in helping.
As we took a walk together we talked about the nearly 1,000 children under the age of 5 that die every day from diarrhea caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation, and improper hygiene. These are all things that don't have to happen. Things that, with our help, can be a thing of the past. It surprised us all to learn that in Ethiopia alone, about 40 million people lack a clean water source and an estimated 70 million live without adequate sanitation.
World Vision believes the global water and sanitation crisis can be solved within our lifetime and we want to be a part of the solution with them. We love that World Vision provides a new person with clean water every 30 seconds as part of their full solution to end poverty. In 2015, World Vision provided access to clean water to 2.3 million people, and the organization’s goal is to provide clean water and sanitation to one new person every 10 seconds by 2020.
In addition to providing safe water, World Vision also provides sanitation and hygiene education to decrease illnesses, which improves health and lessens the burden on women and children. Having safe drinking water, improved sanitation, good hygiene, and good water resource management can lead to a reduction in child mortality, cut transmission of malaria, improve public health, and reduce extreme poverty.
Combining water, sanitation and hygiene solutions together can cut preventable child deaths by up to 57 percent, reduce chronic malnutrition by 40 percent, reduce school absenteeism among girls by 50 percent, and obtain an 8:1 economic return in target communities. We all thought we understood how important having clean water was, but as we all learned more of these facts surrounding clean water and hygiene, we all started to see how big of an impact it really had. Clean water helps communities in so many ways and especially women and children.
There are many ways for you to get involved:
You can become a host site to work together with your church, school, community center or running club. It is free to register as a host site and spread the word about how fun and easy it is to support clean water programs around the world! Whether your goal is 10 people or 100 people participating, World Vision will equip you with all the marketing materials, race day signage, and staff support for a successful race day.
You can join a local host site. Walk or run with other Global 6K for Water participants at a host site near you. This is perfect if you want to participate with a group, but don't have time to organize one.
You can start a virtual team. Want to create a team with friends and family all over the world? This is a great way to have them all join your team from near and afar and you can all walk or run from your own neighborhoods on race day.
You can do your own Individual race where you walk or run the Global 6K for Water from your own front door. You can use your treadmill or around your neighborhood with your kids, either way, you’ll be taking part in a global effort to support clean water! Plus, Thanks to their generous donors, the registration fee for kids (15 and under) is only $25 – a discount of 50%! This is a really great way for the kids to enjoy some family time while also helping other families and children all over the world.
Update! I'm so excited to share that World Vision reached an exciting milestone with their water program, they achieved their 2020 goal (3 years early!) of reaching one new person with water every 10 seconds! The next milestone they’ll be working towards is universal water access everywhere World Vision works by 2030. I have a very good feeling they will reach this goal early too!