Over 1 billion people in the world suffer due to lack of access to clean drinking water. Most of these areas are affected a lot by drought which causes health issues and lack of food security. 15 years ago, scientists from Procter and Gamble (P&G) in partnership with The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention came up with a water purifier. Partnering with 150 different nonprofit organizations including CARE, ChildFund and World Vision, P&G have formed the P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program. These organizations have helped in the distribution of water purifiers in rural and peri-urban areas in developing countries. They have reached various countries all over the continents of Africa, Europe, Asia, South and North America.
Since 2004, they have been able to provide 13 billion litres of clean water to 92 countries and still counting. The goal is to provide 15 billion litres by the year 2020. This is in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 6 which seeks to address the global need for clean water, proper sanitation and hygiene.
In Kenya, 15 counties will benefit from the provision of clean drinking water as P&G implements its Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program. This is part of their celebration of 25 years of operation in Kenya. These counties include; Machakos, Kajiado, Taita Taveta, Narok, Kisumu, Isiolo, Marsabit, Baringo, Eldeyo Marakwet, Samburu, Laikipia, Muranga, Homa Bay and Makueni. These counties will benefit from more than 100 million litres of clean drinking water. More than 20% of the support will provide humanitarian support in Wajir County. This will address the severe drought conditions that have persisted in 2018 due to poor rainy seasons since December 2016.
This further causes water scarcity which is severely disrupting the lives of communities living there. The most vulnerable are the elderly, the sick, mothers and the children under the age of 5. Most of the children in this community have to help out their mothers in sourcing for water where they have to walk long distances to even get it. The most affected are the girls since they are considered to be the caregivers next to their mothers. These children come home from school and instead of resting and studying are forced to collect water miles away from home.
The announcement was made during the prescreening of a documentary made in partnership with National Geographic that highlights the plight of women from Kenya, Indonesia and Mexico. These women share their and their families struggle to get access to water. Some have to walk for about 40 minutes to get access to water.
The situation is only made worse since the water they collect is not clean or sanitized. The cases of waterborne diseases in these areas are quite great. Diarrhoea is still the main cause of death in infants and children. It causes more death than HIV/AIDS and malaria combined. These children often miss school due to illnesses and infections caused by drinking the unsanitized water. The best these families can do once they collect this dirty water is to filter it with a cloth. This only separates the dirt from the water leaving behind unsanitized water with bacteria and viruses.
The P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program distributes the water purifier sachets, a low-cost powdered technology in a packet that is designed to purify heavily contaminated drinking water and so it meets the World Health Organizations (WHO) standards for safe drinking water. These sachets are distributed to the homes, schools and clinics in these communities for free. They also work with community workers themselves including the children to educate people on how to use the purifier. Each 4 gram P&G purifier of water turns 10 litres of dirty potential deadly water into clean and drinkable water.
How it works
You need two buckets, one containing the dirty water and the other for the filtering process. Once you pour the purifier into the dirty water, stir for about 10 minutes then leave the water to settle. This helps the dirt in the water to collect at the bottom. Place a cotton cloth over the mouth of the other bucket. A cotton cloth is recommended since it is finely woven and thus will not allow residue to transfer into the clean bucket. Pour the settled water slowly into the clean bucket.
The water purifier works to;
Eliminate disease-causing microorganisms.
Remove 99.9% of common waterborne bacteria and viruses that cause illnesses such as cholera.
Reduce diarrhoea disease incidence in developing world countries by up to 90%
Remove dirt and any other pollutants.
This purifier avails the people in these communities with safe and sanitized drinking water. The P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water program which has been in effect in Kenya for over 13 years has provided more than 1 billion litres of clean drinking water to these communities. The people report that their children miss school a lot less now since they no longer get sick. Most of the women have also become ambassadors for the program and help distribute and educate the rest of the community on the importance of drinking clean sanitized water.