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The Significance of Clean Water in Communities

It is an impossible task to define how significant clean water can be because it is everything. At Healing Waters International, we believe that clean water is a fundamental right that should be accessible to all. Clean water gives us dignity by allowing us to stay clean, hygienic, and healthy. Clean water gives us food. Clean water grants us life, where we can pursue education, careers, families, and more. Clean water is necessary for survival, yes, but communities with easy access to clean water tend to forget the devastating social, physical, and economic effects that come to communities without enough clean water.

Without clean water, communities will struggle to keep healthy, forcing children to stay home from school and parents to stay home from work to watch them if they don’t catch anything themselves first. People living in developing communities with no clean water live in uncertainty. They worry if they can gather potable water for their families that week, or if they can provide for them, or keep them safe from disease.

Clean water eases all of these concerns and empowers communities, and water empowerment starts with women.

The Role of Women in Water Collection

In many nations, women often serve as primary caregivers, leading them to bear the responsibility of collecting water in their communities. This task is time-consuming and demanding, requiring hours of travel to the nearest clean water source or finding alternative means to gather water. When the closest water source is unsafe, women are further burdened with the responsibility of purifying the water, involving tasks such as gathering wood to start a fire–another time-consuming task.

Even seemingly routine tasks like washing clothes become arduous, involving travel and waiting in long lines for a chance to do so. Women, quite literally, shoulder the weight of water collection. These responsibilities often lead young women to put jobs and education on hold, underscoring the significant impact on their personal and professional aspirations.

How Does Education Improve Women’s Empowerment?

Keeping a populace safe from waterborne illnesses and participating in running your own water business are two things women can learn foundationally to help pave the path for future education opportunities of their choice. 

African woman walking a dirt road with her two children

Given that women often play a central role as primary caregivers in families, initiating health and hygiene training with them becomes crucial for the successful dissemination of this education to other community members. This approach recognizes the pivotal role women play in cascading the benefits of knowledge and skills throughout the community. 

By teaching women the dangers of contaminated water, how to keep existing water sources clean, and how to prevent the spread of diseases, we are empowering them to become leaders in their communities and pass on this crucial knowledge for generations. Additionally, setting up water filtration systems in these communities requires coordination and cooperation from community members to keep the filtration system running and to handle their own water business, selling and passing along water to residents. Women are often readily available to take on the training necessary for this role.

Young girls miss hundreds of days of school either due to water-related illness or from having to collect water. When families are better educated and in good health, women have the opportunity to pursue their own education or seek employment to contribute additional income to their families. Ultimately, this will take away the burdens that so many families experience from not having enough income to afford clean water.

Current Challenges and Barriers in Developing Countries

Developing nations grapple with challenges such as inadequate water and sanitation infrastructure, overpopulation, and limited educational opportunities. The demand for housing and infrastructure must align with the rapid pace of population growth. Consequently, there is a stark imbalance between the surging population and the availability of essential amenities like water taps, sinks, and toilets. Existing infrastructure often proves insufficient to withstand the increased demand.

Population growth in some instances is exacerbated by migration, driven, in part, by the desire to escape violence. This migration frequently results in an influx of people into urban areas, where efforts to provide clean water are predominantly concentrated. Unfortunately, this focus on urban centers often leads to the neglect of rural communities, leaving them underserved and overlooked in the quest for improved water infrastructure.

Governments in developing countries are frequently ill-equipped to provide comprehensive clean water solutions, leaving a significant portion of the population vulnerable to waterborne diseases. In response to this critical need, organizations like us at Healing Waters International play a pivotal role in bridging the gap. Providing expertise and sustainable solutions to implement clean water initiatives, we strive to ensure access to safe and potable water for communities in need.

Stories of Women’s Empowerment

In the small Guatemalan neighborhood of El Pajal, Victoria Mendoza and her fellow community members live without enough clean water to go around, forcing them to drink from visibly dirty or muddy water sources. She shares the struggles she faced all her life, dealing with constant intestinal infections and not having enough water to support their coffee-growing business.

But she has not given up hope. Instead, she decides to act. She shares how she has felt empowered by the health and hygiene training she received to help others and rally them to her cause:

“I am a community leader and have been ever since I was 19 years old. I have taken many community trainings, and now I use what I have learned to help other women. And so for the past six years I have worked with other people—knocking on doors and organizing people– to find ways to get us help, so we can have water here in our community.”

Women serve as strong pillars in their communities, and Healing Waters is dedicated to supporting and empowering their strength, enabling them to continue making a positive difference in their communities.

How Does Healing Waters Help?

an African woman stands in front of the door of her own store, she's building up her community

At Healing Waters, we focus on implementing custom water filtration systems to fit the community’s needs. Our solutions are designed by seasoned engineers who help us on our mission. We ensure the safe installation of these systems, which filter out impurities found in a water supply, to give closer access to clean water to even the most remote communities. 

Once in place, we prioritize the education of community leaders on the significance of health and hygiene, with a special focus on women. Empowering women to take on leadership roles can strengthen our communities and witness their growth and prosperity. Contact us today with questions on how you can help, or consider making a donation to support our ongoing efforts. Clean water empowerment starts with you!

We’re on a mission to end the global water crisis. We build holistic clean water solutions and spread God’s love in at-risk communities around the world, empowering people not just to survive, but to thrive – physically, socially and spiritually.

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