World Water Day: A Privilege I Take for Granted

 

This morning, when I woke up I took my daily medication with some filtered water I keep in a glass by my bed. I brewed a pot of coffee and hopped into the shower. At work, the cold water filter is merely two feet from my desk and I use it to fill my cup several times per day. I boil water to prepare meals for my family. I wash my dishes after dinner, I water my plants, I fill the cat’s water bowl everyday. I bathe my son, I wash my hands after I use the bathroom, and I play in the sprinklers when it’s hot. I get my car washed and I do several loads of laundry each week.

What a privilege I have. My water is always clean. My source is always convenient and my access is never limited.

I have so much and I take it for granted all the time.

Today is World Water Day, where people all over the globe come together and use their collective voice to bring awareness and change global issues surrounding water.

The focus and theme for 2016 is on the power that water has to transform people’s lives through their livelihoods. Nearly all jobs have a connection to water. We’re either directly responsible for it’s safe delivery to people who need it or we ourselves need it to effectively do our jobs. Today, we’re bringing attention to water’s role in workers’ lives and livelihoods and how it can even transform societies and economies.

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Water is one of the most vital resources in the work that Food for the Hungry does. Its effects are boundless and when it comes to livelihoods, it can mean the difference between abundance or desperation.

Mr. Abere Gobeze is a father of four who lives in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia. Along with his wife, he owns half an acre of farm land, but since the area is highly drought prone with erratic rainfall, his farm produce couldn’t feed the whole family year round. Abere and his family had to regularly rely on food and cash assistance to fill their food needs. Even when Abere and his family planted vegetable seeds, they had to carry water from the nearby spring which was over a 20-minute walk.

Beneficiary Abere Gobeze and his four children live in the Mera village, Lay Gayint district Amhara Region of Ethiopia. His aged mother and father are also under his care. They were beneficiaries of a 2014 operation to "avail at least one water source for each family to increase food production." The water helped him and 2500 others to produce crops at least twice a year and increase their produce and income.

Abere Gobeze and his wife next to their water well.

FH staff and local agricultural development agent (DA) advised and trained Abere on how to dig a well for his compound. Abere was skeptical that there would be any water, but was surprised to find a clean water source! FH supplied cement, rope and water drawing equipment, and a technician who installed the machine.

“I prepared my backyard and planted different vegetables, tree seedlings and barley. The produce was very good I harvested 400kg (882lb) of barely for household consumption. We sold vegetable and tree seedlings and earned about $400 USD. With the money we bought a milking cow. Now my children get milk every day. As you see we are transplanting vegetables from seedbeds for the second season. I believe that using this water resource, I will become self-sufficient in food supply for my family and prosperous. I have a plan to buy modern beehives and start a poultry farm in my compound to increase my income and secure the future of my children. I really thank those who supported me to build this water well.”

-Abere Gobeze

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According to the United Nations, 783 million people do not have access to clean water; almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation; and every 20 seconds a child dies as a result of poor sanitation. This is not OK!

Today, let’s ask ourselves how we can do better. How can we help more people like Abere change the trajectory of his life by increasing access to water? How can we help use water to lift the world’s most vulnerable people out of poverty?

When you partner with Food for the Hungry, you’ll help bring clean water projects to communities around the world impacting their heath as well as their livelihoods.