The demand for safe drinking water is overwhelming, and we need to respond.
The most recent report published jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) entitled “Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: 2017 Update and Sustainable Development Goal Baselines” presents staggering statistics of the socio-economic problem on water, hygiene, and sanitation (WASH), as confronted worldwide. Despite our advances in economy, science, and technology, globally there is still 2.1 billion people who lack access to safely managed drinking water sources and 4.4 billion who lack safely-managed sanitation.
The same report suggests that in East Asia and Southeast Asia combined, only an approximate 89% of the total population has access to safely managed drinking water, and the rest has limited or no access at all.
These organizations define safely managed drinking water as the “use of an improved drinking water source that is located on premises, available when needed, and free from faecal and priority chemical contamination.” Lack of it results to around 361,000 children under five years old dying due to diarrhea yearly. In fact, poor sanitation and contaminated water are linked to the transmission of various diseases such as cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, and typhoid.
Recognizing this problem, Force 21 invested in a solution through an initiative called GiftingLife, a platform to educate and provide solutions on global WASH issues.
GiftingLife presents LifeStraw®, a product by partner Vestergaard (as highlighted in a previous newsletter). It is a water filter which is the only product conferred with a 3-star rating by the WHO for performing very high removal of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Through this product, GiftingLife is able to literally gift life to persons and communities who have limited or no access to clean and safe drinking water.
WASH issues are often multi-faceted and involve various concerned stakeholders that the most comprehensive way to address it is through proper information and dialogue, exchange of best practices, and collaboration among key sectors of private, government, and civil society. GiftingLife is Force 21’s attempt to put this all together in a mechanism that will be explained more in future blogs. This kind of collaboration can be previewed in a previous blog that shares our encounter with an NGO, Global Peace Foundation.
Safe and clean water for everyone
Ultimately, everyone deserves the access to safe drinking water. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) echoes the same thing in its global target number 6.1: By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all. Water is a basic need and a human right. Regardless of what sector we represent, private, government, or civil society, it is our moral duty to build a more humane society where access to safe drinking water is a reality, ensuring no one is left behind.
For more information on GiftingLife and on how to collaborate, please contact Liezel Salera, Assistant Manager for Community and Outreach Development, via firstname.lastname@example.org