Friday, May 18, 2012

Flaunt Your Cause: Clean Water for the World

I am extremely excited about the "Flaunt Your Cause" link-up from Lindsay and Emmy:

Flaunt Your Cause

I've been wanting to write about Clean Water for the World again for quite awhile and this is a perfect excuse. I mentioned this lovely organization in my "I Left My Heart in Dakar" post, but I'd like to devote a little more time to talking about something that is very near and dear to my heart. By near, I mean they are a local non-profit organization doing amazing things globally. By dear, I mean they are some of my favorite people in the world. Here's their organization and my story.

If you are reading this blog post then you probably have regular access to clean water. You brush your teeth with it and drink it out of the faucet (the only reason you might not is because you don't like the taste of it). You bathe or shower in it without worrying about getting sick, where the water is coming from, or what would happen if you used too much of it.

Did you know that a child dies from a water borne illness every 15 seconds?

My interest in access to clean water for everyone came from my research trip to Senegal in 2010. While there, I met a man from an international non-governmental organization in the United States who had been contracted to clean up the hazardous waste in a village's only water source. The village had lost fifteen children because of a battery acid contamination in the water. There was no place to dipose of chemical waste and the acid had leaked into the groundwater. The way this man spoke about the people in the village angered me. He talked about how the people didn't care about their own people, how they "just didn't know" how to clean up after themselves, and other ideas that reflected the attitude many Westerners have towards African-- and other developing-- countries that are still trying to move towards progress after colonialization.
A well in L'ecole des Sables (Toubab Dialaw)
Just one of many trips to get water from the well. 
When I got home I wanted to find a way to combat attitudes like the man's while still trying to make a change in the world. That's when I met Jerry, Judy, and Paul. You can read about them and other members of the Board of Directors here. These people are the most open-minded, caring, and giving individuals that I've ever met. They don't assume that people in communitites with little or no access to water, dirty water, or other issues with water are ignorant or stupid. They (and other Clean Water for the World delegations) don't storm into cities and villages telling them how to make things better. They work with communities and it's a beautiful thing.

We installed one system at the school.
My experience with Clean Water for the World started with a student trip last summer. We installed a system in a school and community center in Pikine, a suburb of Dakar. You can read the details about the installation here. Here are some installation highlights:

Waiting for the water to come from the source.
Turning on the system after we finally got it hooked up!
Fatima drinking the water. I had some as well and had no issues!
When we got home, I decided I was a Clean Water for the World lifer. Because they do not allow groups to buy the systems (it is all donated to places and sustained for life) Clean Water for the World raises money with The Walk for Water. As the co-advisor of a Peace Jam group at my school, we thought it would be perfect for our students to participate. Paul came in and presented talked about the systems and my students were hooked. You can tell when people are passionate about what they do and it's contagious.

Getting ready to walk 3 miles AKA the distance many women and children in countries without easy access to clean water must walk more than once a day. 
I will always do whatever I can to support Clean Water for the World. I encourage you to check them out and to please message or comment with any questions or for more information. If you're in Michigan next spring maybe I'll see you at the Walk for Water. :)


8 comments:

Lindsay @ Trial By Sapphire said...

This is an AMAZING post, organization, and cause! I am so glad you shared it, and I hope we can spread the word about Clean Water for the World! I also love that this cause really is NEAR and dear to you.

Thank you so, SO much for linking up with Emily and I. We have been so anxious to meet other bloggers in this fashion, and I'm still in awe of the variety of causes that have been linked up! I'm so happy you joined us!

Happy weekend!

Alex Butts said...

Love the cause - so important for everyonneee to realize the need.

Stopping by from the not mommy hop!

Kari said...

Three miles everyday that's crazy. What a wonderful cause. Definitely look into it!

do_it_ajen said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone! :) I never thought about water until I had to buy it in jugs to brush my teeth!

Emily said...

Jen,
Thank you SO MUCH for linking up and sharing your passion of clean water. I agree that's it's an extremely worthy cause. I really enjoying reading about how you got involved and why it felt so important. When I was in India, it made me sad that I couldn't drink the water there--because to me it was just one more distinction between the have's and the have not's.

I love that the Clean Water walk is correlated to the distance women & children walk to get water. I grew up in Southwest Michigan (near Holland.)

Thanks again,
Em

do_it_ajen said...

Thanks Em! I'm in Southwest Michigan too... Just made it to South Haven yesterday to enjoy the lake!

More Than Words said...

Wow. I love this. I just recently went to a meeting where we discussed the issue of water in third world countries...and how we are going to petition our government members to live up to their foreign aid budget promises (which they have decreased)...I'll post more about it on my blog later...but all that to say...I love your cause!

Kristin Miller said...

Awesome post! I work with team world vision with the same goal of clean drinking water for all!! Glad to see clean drinking water coming from different places with the same vision!

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