Goal 6 is at the root of why Business Connect was established as we formed our mission to address the critical need for greater access to vital natural resources through the creation of a sustainable, local business model in developing countries.
You see, through our experience and as the first international distributor for Sawyer water filtration products, we recognized that unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Children are especially vulnerable, as their bodies aren’t strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses. Clean and safe water is a priority and we are still getting the word out how Sawyer water filters can meet the need of so many.
90% of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are children under five years old. Many of these diseases are preventable. The UN predicts that one tenth of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply and sanitation. These are the reasons we do what we do with passion and seek out partnerships of like-minded individuals.
Founded in 2010, Business Connect is a social enterprise (L3C) committed to providing citizens living in developing countries with affordable and easy access to essential resources, such as water and light, to strengthen education, health and economic growth opportunities within the communities it serves. Working within 36 countries across Africa, Asia and Central and South America, we mobilize people to achieve their goal and supply the world with life-enhancing green technologies while embracing a multi-dimensional bottom-line approach committed to employment, profit-sharing, transparency and faith.
The Statistics are Still Staggering
663 million people don’t have clean water and when a community gets access to clean water, it can change just about everything. It can improve health, increase access to food, grow local economies, and help kids spend more time in school. The WHO reports that over 3.6% of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply, sanitation, and hygiene.
In Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year walking for water. Women and children usually bear the burden of water collection, walking miles to the nearest source, which is unprotected and likely contaminated. Time spent walking and the resulting diseases keep them from school, work and taking care of their families. Along their long walk, they’re subjected to a greater risk of harassment and sexual assault. With safe water nearby, women are free to pursue new opportunities and improve their families’ lives. By supplying access to clean water, women would have the freedom to pursue an education or earn extra income. In addition, a business opportunity evolves as they learn how to create more income selling clean water or other much-needed clean resources like solar lights and generators or clean cook stoves.
Clean water can greatly alleviate the world’s disease burden, but only with education and hygienic practice. Clean water alone can reduce water-related deaths by 21%. Sanitation alone can reduce water-related deaths by 37.5%. Handwashing alone can reduce water-related deaths by 35%. Every $1 invested in improved water supply and sanitation can yield from $4 to $12 for the local economy, depending on the type of project. Clean water transforms lives, communities and generations — and at a surprisingly low cost. Just $30 can provide clean water for one person.
We call this the ripple effect — how the impact of safe water and sanitation touches so many aspects of life and economies. Yet it is often overlooked by those planning investment. Want to help? There are so many ways! Contact us today!
For more information, we are following posts on a series produced by The Huffington Post, “What’s Working: Sustainable Development Goals,” in conjunction with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The proposed set of milestones will be the subject of discussion at the UN General Assembly meeting on Sept. 25-27, 2015 in New York. The goals, which will replace the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015), cover 17 key areas of development — including poverty, hunger, health, education, and gender equality, among many others. As part of The Huffington Post’s commitment to solutions-oriented journalism, this What’s Working SDG blog series will focus on one goal every weekday in September. This post addresses Goal 6.