Having safe and clean drinking water is something quite a number of people take for granted. However, for about 40% of Kenyans in rural areas and low income settlements, access to safe drinking water is almost impossible to come by.
The situation is more pronounced in rural areas where people often gave to walk for several kilometers to get water, which more often than not, is contaminated. The time spent searching for water could have been used for different economic activities which could have helped improve their quality of life.
The scarcity of safe and clean water is not a situation unique to Kenya. From Migori to Mexico, people continue to die of waterborne diseases which are a consequence of contaminated water.
Statistics from UN Habitat/UNEP indicate that up to 50% of hospital beds are filled with patients suffering from water related diseases. Provision of clean water through initiatives such as the one from P&G can reduce the number of diarrheal deaths by up to 34%. Other than sustaining life other benefits of access to clean water include better time management, better productivity, education and economic growth. Given the fact that most of the rural population get their water from dirty rivers and streams the situation is dire.
To an individual, situation may appear hopeless, especially if you examine the circumstances that bring about the scarcity in the first place. It would involve an overhaul of existing water and sewerage systems and planning to introduce these systems in areas where there are none. Because of the bureaucratic nature of governments, the process may take years to implement, all the while, lives are being lost. Often we have to turn to private institutions to solve this problem.
The Children Safe Drinking Water (CSDW) by P&G in partnership with World Vision, is one of the ways the private sector has stepped in to help mitigate the effects of lack of clean drinking water. The program, which began in 2004, has seen the provision of approximately a billion liters of water to Kenyans and investment of Ksh. 50 million towards the project.
This has been made possible with the P&G purifier of water sachets to purify heavily contaminated water to meet WHO standards for safe drinking water. A 4 gram packet is able to purify about 10 liters of water which is enough for a day’s use in a small household in a few simple steps.
The steps are as follows:
Open the P&G water purification packet
Empty the contents into the 10 liter bucket of contaminated water
Stir the water for about five minutes. The water will start to clear and the sediments such as mud will settle at the bottom
With a clean cloth, filter the water into a clean bucket.
The water will be free from mud and germs and therefore safe to drink.
If families have safe water to drink;
They can manage their time better which means they dedicate the time spent searching for water on other economic activities which can improve living conditions
Mortality rates go down due to fewer cases of death due to waterborne diseases
Children with access to clean water have a higher chance to continue and finish their education
Additionally, as part of P&G’s celebration of 25 years of operation in Kenya, the company intends to invest Ksh. 100 million to provide clean drinking water through its CSDW program to 15 counties; Machakos, Kajiado, Taita Taveta, Narok, Kisumu, Isiolo, Marsarbit, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, Samburu, Lakipia, Muranga, Homa Bay and Makueni.
Watch the documentary on the importance of safe drinking water which was done in partnership with P&G and National graphic below.