We live in a time where everything is readily available. From buying food to travelling to even reading this very article, life has never been so simple. So, it’s not surprising that we often forget what goes on behind the scenes, all the complicated processes that make many aspects of life so effortless. But let’s focus on water and its importance. We use it to grow our crops, for recreational use such as swimming and it is, of course, essential for our health. It is used so frequently, and without hesitation, so it’s not surprising that we forget there isn’t an unlimited supply.
Then begs the question, what is our goal in writing this article? Well to put it simply, it is to highlight the network of issues that a lack of clean water causes. At WellFound, we travel to different communities in remote locations to explain how building wells can remove the problems that people there face daily. We hope that with this knowledge, readers can understand the long-term differences that donations can make towards these communities.
If you’re reading this, it is highly likely that at you’ve at least once called in sick from work or school to get a day off and then the next day got back to reality. We’re all guilty of it. However, the absence from school for children who drink unclean water isn’t a choice. Unclean water can result in school children becoming sick from the pathogens and viruses it contains, resulting in them missing school, or they have to take care of their family members who may also be suffering. Unfortunately, these children can even lose their parents who drink the same water and are then left to look after siblings or even be left alone. This means that dirty water can take away a child’s right to an education.
Schools are also dependant on the teacher being healthy enough to attend. If teachers are sick; they must cancel lessons. Not to mention, many schools lack basic facilities such as toilets for staff or faculty. This mainly affects female teachers and children who will often not attend school as the conditions are not appropriate for sanitary purposes, particularly during menstrual cycles.
The problems we’ve discussed have had one common link… health. Illness as a result of disease or a poor diet prevents people from working to improve their villages. So, what solutions does Well-Found propose? We help to improve health by instructing villages on how to keep water clean and safe as well as the importance of personal hygiene, which is particularly vital for women’s health. Furthermore, we provide knowledge on secure water storage to prevent illness from dangerous diseases such as cases of malaria.
A factor that is often ignored is the connection between clean water and agriculture. Farming can help to secure long term success for villagers, which is why WellFound work to establish market gardens in the villages we partner with. Plenty of fresh water allows for the opportunity to grow and sell vegetables improving health and affluence. An example would be our projects in Guinea-Bissau where we have introduced market gardens. Villagers have seen the growth of tomato, green pepper, lettuce and other vegetables that can be sold to improve family’s’ economic stability. Without these market gardens, women and children would continue to suffer from malnourishment due to crop failure as well as the food that they do grow such as rice and potatoes being low in nutrition. It’s amazing to see the difference it makes in people’s lives.
Last but not least, one of our most important goals is ensuring equality, which we discussed in our previous article ‘Women-Water-Wellfound’. Women have a lot of responsibility in the family, which is highly time-consuming. Due to the family’s dependency on them to get water, time that could be spent on education or looking for employment is instead utilised by fulfilling domestic duties. This also causes issues health-wise as the tasks these women carry out can be particularly tiresome such as the heaviness of the gallons of water they carry. Plus, there is the added pressure of their menstrual cycle due to a scarcity of restrooms, which means that the management of periods is challenging. As these women have no bathrooms, they must use the forest at night, which is extremely risky due to dangerous animals and sexual violence. These issues stem from a lack of access to clean water and sanitation — significant problems with simple solutions.
Providing clean water is the first step in solving the issues discussed in this article. The progress that WellFound has made within the communities shows that lasting change is possible and is steadily being made. Clean water is a solution that results in lasting positive changes. Here at WellFound, we encourage others to be a part of that positive change. You can be a part of that change.