The Global Sanitation Crisis Is A Huge Problem. The WASH Initiative Can Solve It

The Global Sanitation Crisis Is A Huge Problem. The WASH Initiative Can Solve It

As global crisis that affects over two billion people, water sanitation has turned into the first and primary concern of many of the world’s leading organizations. In fact, the CDC considers water sanitation an essential problem that needs to be solved by the end of this century.

Today, there are about 2.4 billion people without the right kind of sanitation in their regional infrastructure. Clean water, basic toilets, black water disposal, and many things other countries take for granted for survival simply aren’t available in many countries.

Then add the 663 million, and counting, that simply have no access to any water source.

When you stand back and look at the entire problem you get a feel for how massive it is. Something needs to be done in order to solve this problem.

Here’s what you need to know.

The Facts Behind The Crisis

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Let’s look at some statistics to better understand this problem.

  • According to WHO (the World Health Organization) and UNICEF, the region with the highest amount of poor water sanitation is Sub-Saharan Africa, followed closely by Southern and Eastern Asia.
  • Girls are most likely to suffer not only the debilitating ravages of diseases, but the societal consequences of having poor sanitation in their rural settings.  Compared to their male counterparts, one in five girls do not attend school, primarily because they are most likely responsible for collecting water for their family.  In Sub Saharan Africa, 72% of the water collected is done by women.Plus, the arcane and hazardous toilet and latrine installations in schools often prevent girls from further advancing their education, in particular during menstruation.
  • Over eight hundred thousand children under the age of 5 die from diarrhea and related causes each year. In 2012, a study showed that 2,200 children die every single day as a result of diarrheal diseases.
  • Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDS for short) are a direct result of water and hygiene related issues. Bacteria, parasites and viruses run amok in rural regions. Mosquitos, carrying Zika, malaria, and other diseases swarm around sitting water.Guinea Worm Disease (an extremely painful parasitical infection), buruli ulcer, schistosomiasis and hundreds more diseases affect the poor countries at an alarming rate. Less water and sanitation also means less sewage flow, leading to stagnant water and pools, particularly in tropical and subtropical climates. These pools then become breeding grounds for viruses and parasites foreign to that area.
  • Basic sanitation and clean affordable water can end up saving over 17 thousand people a week.
  • By the year 2025, due to overpopulation, 2/3 of the world will face water shortages. To make matters even worse, the other 1/3 will have to deal will a growing strain on their sanitation installations. Drinkable water will become a scarce commodity.
  • Women and girls are more likely to experience violent sexual assaults while either getting water or venturing outside to use the communal defecation pit.
  • Only 3% of the world’s water is drinkable, despite the fact that 75% of the planet is covered by it. Out of that tiny percent, only 1% is actually accessible to humans. The majority of the world’s safe drinkable water tucked away in remote regions.

Solutions To The Global Sanitation Problem

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Global water sanitation is a staggering and serious problem that has become a pivotal concern for many world organizations, and it’s not going away anytime soon. It’s estimated that it will take generations to actually solve the problem. Nonetheless, there are numerous actions and strategies being taken in order to mitigate its advance.

Some governments are taking highly specific approaches that work within their unique circumstances.

As says Tim Brewer notes:

Ethiopia has made a concerted effort to reduce open defecation rates over the past five years,” Wateraid’s policy analyst on monitoring and accountability. “The government came up with a plan of action to get everyone in the country to stop practicing open defecation, and made sure that donors contributing to the sanitation sector also followed the same plan. This hasn’t been the case in Eritrea, where there has been conflict.

Unfortunately, in many cases, one of the most endemic problems is the lack of governmental and regional acknowledgment of the problem. Local governments often turn a blind eye to the dilemma (in many countries, 90% of the investment for any sort of solution comes from the private sector and charity). Unfortunately, there are inherent problems built into the financial and political pillars of most rural countries that fail to prioritize water sanitation in national budgets.

Most governments fail on multiple aspects of the crisis:

  • Water tariffs from formal providers are set so low that they do not cover the operational cost, let alone maintenance and expansion.
  • Long term investment in the sector is non-existent in many regions.
  • There is a chronic lack of human skill and know-how affecting the sector.

In other words, the heavy lifting in most parts is being conducted by private organizations and charities, which is important but not the long term solution. It’s estimated that in order to have a large scale impact on the problem, a great deal of financial aid should be directed to a systemic global reeducation campaign. Knowledge is a key part of solving this crisis.

Another key aspect most organizations and individuals agree on is that the water crisis is in itself an opportunity. It should be viewed not as an insurmountable dilemma but as a chance to help rural and poor communities to grow. Financial investment, manmade infrastructures, and pioneering innovations are critical to tackling the problem.

The United Nations has made it their goal to reach a ambitious and unambiguous target by the year 2030: Every man, woman and child, should have access to a safe water supply and able to go to the toilet in a clean space.

Their main concern is that by the year 2030, there will be an additional 1.5 billion people in the world, and over 60% will be in developing and rural countries. In order to reach their lofty goal, the United Nations and affiliated organizations will have to create a yearly $47 billion financial package.

The UN predicts that in order to actually meet their deadline, the next 5 years will be pivotal. They will have to generate national and international leadership, shining a light on the problem and building the necessary alliances between the private and public sector. It is their belief that the solution lies not only in developing a practical financial mechanism, but also in bridging the educational gap that most politicians seem to have.

What Is WASH?

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Millions of children in the developing world go to schools which have no drinking water or clean latrines – basic things that many of us take for granted. Every child has the right to be in a school that offers safe water, healthy sanitation and hygiene education. – Sigrid Kaag, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at the launch of the WASH program.

WASH is a collective term used for the three core issues at stake in many rural communities worldwide: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. These three fundamental issues have to be improved in order to conquer the global sanitation crisis.

With UNICEF’s leadership, and in many cases example, many organizations are meeting head on the colossal problem affecting the poor. The WASH initiative values the idea of dedicated target strikes on different areas while promoting sustainable goals for a region.

How does WASH play out specifically?

WATER:

The first leg of UNICEF’s initiative deals with providing access to protected wells and piping – of gifting communities with safe underground water sources.

SANITATION:

It is fundamental to have facilities that separate human waste from human contact. In many cases, communal latrines or open defecation is the norm, with ineffective separation of fecal matters and lack of a waste disposal units contaminating the ecosystem and general health of the village.

HYGIENE:

In many parts of the world, there is little thought given to common hygiene practices. A lack of soap, safe water or adequate washing facilities cause diseases to spread quickly. UNICEF’s wants to help change this mindset in many communities, with educational awareness being key to fighting pandemics.

UNICEF’s Results:

So far, the results from WASH have been positive:

  • More than 7.6 million people have received improved access to drinking water.
  • 3.1 million have benefited from improved agricultural water management.
  • Hundreds of sanitation stations have been implemented in rural countries.
  • Thanks to the USAID’s assistance, WASH has managed to collect over 499 million dollars for their endeavors.

Conclusion

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Though the global sanitation crisis isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, positive steps are being taken to address it. As more communities are educated on the importance of proper sanitation, we should expect to see continued improvements. Additionally, as infrastructure is built in these communities, some of the long term problems should slowly disappear.

Manoj Bhargava said:

People with water-borne diseases occupy more than 50% of hospital beds across the world. Does the answer lie in building more hospitals? Really, what is needed is to give them clean water.

We wholeheartedly agree.

What Do You Know About Clean Water?

What Do You Know About Clean Water?

What we do not know can hurt us badly…or help us immensely. We know things about life and how to live. We are also aware of things we do not know, but would like to know. Finally, we also do not know what it is we do not know; and therein lies the challenge for each of us. What do you know about clean water?

For those who live in rural areas as subsistence farmers in Africa, Latin America, or around the world, life is measured in terms of the seasons, adequate rainfall, and political stability. Life’s blessings lie in the numerous relationships that exist among family and community. For the world’s poorest of the poor, life is fairly straight forward; food, shelter, and some degree of health. That health is almost always measured in terms of clean and safe water. In the cities we find increasing numbers of people purchasing packaged water. Yet even here the standardization and consistency of clean water is woefully lacking.

There have been an increasing number of studies showing that up to eighty percent of illness and hospitalizations in the emerging economies are directly related to contaminated water. Millions of people still source their water from open wells, lakes, rivers, ponds, and unclean storage tanks. The question for us becomes how we can be a sustainable solution without creating more dependency in the supply and delivery of water filter systems.

One exciting development has been finding a filter better in quality and characteristics and at a lower price than what we have ever been able to provide before. It is called the Village water filter. You can learn more from their website: www.villagewaterfilters.org

A couple years ago I returned from a trip to Belize. Six months later one of the Rotarians I had met on that trip phoned me from Colorado. He asked, “Do you remember the question I asked you when we met and the answer you gave me?” I had no idea, thinking I must have really stuck my foot in my mouth. He said, “I really liked your answer and I want to help you achieve your vision!” He was a retired dentist and he went to work developing a hollow fiber membrane water filter that requires no electricity, no replacement parts, and no chemicals, at over 50% less than what we had been paying. Today, we can bring clean and safe water to more people at less cost than ever before. This happened not because we knew about how to do it or even tried to invent something new but because someone else had an idea, a passion, and a collaborative spirit. We thank God for that person and every person like him who gives us a donation to bring this product to the least, lost, and lonely, to those who are the champions making the last mile delivery, for those of you who speak for those who do not have a voice, and for you who read these emails and just lift a prayer, say a word of encouragement, and support Business Connect. We have an amazing team with us and surrounding us.

Until next time,

Lou Haveman and the Business Connect Team

“Muna ga duniya!” – We Are Seeing the World!

“Muna ga duniya!” – We Are Seeing the World!

To those who follow us on social media, those who are our champions, engaged partners, friends, relatives, and those who support our work from here in the US; we are so grateful for you. This is our monthly newsletter that we would like to share in our blog space to stay in touch.

July11photoAfrica Comes to America:

“Muna ga duniya!”  I heard these Hausa words more than once the past two weeks as we hosted Filibus and Tabitha, our steward and house help from 45 years ago in Nigeria.  After being away from Africa for 30 years we started to receive telephone calls.  After many conversations and trying to damper their expectations, I made a statement…if they could get a passport and a visa, I would help them come to the States.    They had no idea what they were asking and I knew it was impossible…and I was safe.

It had been a passion, a dream, a fantasy; something they worked for to come and visit America.  Their request had been denied several times by the U.S. embassy.  After years of effort, engaging others to help, and rejection after another…it finally happened: a two year multiple entry visa.  A miracle!

They come from a rural village called Baissa in Northern Nigeria near the Cameroon border.  To date they do not have running water nor electricity in their home.  Neither attended primary school.  Tabitha speaks four languages, Filibus three.  Neither of them speak English although Filibus understands some.  They are no longer young.  Filibus has some serious eyesight issues.

It reminds me of the story found in the New Testament about a lady who dreamed big dreams for her two sons.  She came to the Master and asked that they have positions in his kingdom.  Jesus’ response was incredulous and he responded with “You do not know what you are asking!” (Matt. 20:22).

To put it bluntly, having Filibus and Tabitha here has been an absolutely incredible experience.  They were like babies, innocent, dependent, helpless; yet they helped us gain insights into our own culture, values, and spiritual journey.  It also reminded us of how utterly useless, helpless, and dumb we were when we first arrived in Nigeria.  Reaching out to serve others, and in our case, the provision of clean and safe water to those most needy, cross culturally around the world sounds audacious, unrealistic, and not much based in reality…until I think about the last two weeks.  They kept saying “Muna ga duniya!” which means “We are seeing the world!”  In the near future I will share more about this experience and how it changed my life as well.

My prayer is that you will continue to partner with us as we see and embrace the needs of the world.  Check out our website at www.Businessconnectworld.com and see our 500 mile walk progress for this year.  Join us.  We need you!

With a grateful heart,

Lou Haveman and the team

Support Local Entrepreneurs in the Developing World on Your Next Mission Trip

Support Local Entrepreneurs in the Developing World on Your Next Mission Trip

Mission and Business Working Together to Create Hope

A mission group recently traveled from the States to Guatemala to help with construction projects on the ground. While they were there, they distributed Village Filters to families and also installed these water filtration systems in the five homes they built. Families now have clean water in their homes!

The mission group also distributed another 20 filters to more families in need. Realizing how clean water is a basic necessity very much in need in this community, the mission organization is already purchasing another 100 filters today to send with their next group that is traveling back there in a few weeks.

Of course, our local partner in Guatemala is a part of the process – growing his business while supporting these missions. Even though the sale happened here in the States, we still continue with our commitment to share the profits with the entrepreneur in Guatemala. And, if a product malfunctions or a family needs operational assistance, our Business Connect representative is there to help! This is a win-win for everyone. With clean water, families will have better health and save valuable time that was spent walking to the local village for water or collecting it from dirty streams. Money saved from the purchase of clean water can now go towards other clean resources or for educational tools for their children.

What is stopping you from getting involved? Bring along clean water filters or solar lights on your next mission trip or share our name with your favorite mission organization. Let’s bring an end to global poverty together! Visit us at www.BusinessConnectWorld.com.

 

New Village Filter in the HomeProviding the Village filter to a familyProviding the Village filter to a family2Training on Village Filter

Charity is NOT the Answer

Charity is NOT the Answer

12799179_10153940173622020_1117528046356113075_nThe first week of March, Jereme and I were at the Global Agriculture Summit hosted by Dordt College in North West Iowa.  Partners Worldwide, the Andreas Center for Reformed Scholarship and Service, and World Renew brought together an international group of leaders from the fields of agriculture, business, community development, and the Christian academy for an intensive two-day conference on how Christians, farmers, and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) can work together to restore our world. About 650 people attended from business partnerships around the world. We did not see a charity in the room.

The conference was all about finding sustainable business solutions.  It was most clearly demonstrated in example after example, from apple orchards in the State of Washington to vertically integrated poultry projects in Mozambique.  STOP giving aid! STOP the charity!  STOP building another orphanage unless it is sustainable.  I can summarize the theme in three words: SHARE THE MARKET!

A Perfect Example Why Charity Does Not Work.

Several weeks ago we received a request to provide 400 water filters for a project.  The NGO who made the request wanted the best price.  We strongly suggested they purchase from our local supplier, although the price would be higher. It had to be. They had to make a profit. They imported the product. They paid customs. The paid the transportation. They had overhead.  Unfortunately for our in-country representative, our business, and for the people being helped, the NGO purchased the product from the North American manufacturer directly.

The NGO staff and donors felt great.  They saved money and were able to purchase more filters than had they purchased locally.  They had donors who felt great about their generosity.  The people were happy.  They received the product free.  The American manufacturer was delighted.

The result?  What you do not pay for you do not value!  What you do not value you do not care for!”  Almost immediately there will be those who would like to have the product but there will be no supplier.  If it was there, they would not want to pay for it because it had been given away free of charge.  Worse, when the filter needed service or a replacement, there would be no one to purchase from.  There is no continuing presence.  Families who had experienced clean and safe water for several years, needing a replacement filter or component, would now have to drink unfiltered water, having built up no immunity, and will find themselves very sick.

Business Connect Has a Solution. IMG_9182

We are committed to finding a business solution; one that is sustainable, profitable, and accessible to the poorest of the poor. When a donation is given to Business Connect we make sure the delivery is made in such a way that the local business entrepreneur is empowered.

We do not claim to have all the answers nor even the right answer but we believe we have a better answer.  A new documentary entitled Poverty, Inc.  documents well how flawed charity and aid have not helped the developing world at all.   It provides clear evidence that charity is not the answer.

Lou …for the Business Connect Team…and so many who continue to encourage us.

 

 

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