A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful African woman named Sheeba Oriko. As a child in Kenya, Sheeba would walk miles for clean water before and after school. Today she has her own water company Aviva. Ten cents of every sale goes to finding water sources in African villages.

Charity Water has compiled this simple and powerful list of reasons why clean water is so important.

HYGIENE

Clean water along with hygiene training and sanitation can reduce disease by up to 50%. Of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living, 90% are children under five years old.

HEALTH

Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. The UN predicts that one tenth of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply and sanitation.

EDUCATION

Many children around the world spend their days collecting water for their families or home sick with a water-related illness instead of going to school. With safe water nearby, they can earn an education and build the future of their communities.

EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN

Women are twice as likely to walk for water than men. The time spent walking and the resulting diseases from contaminated sources keep them from getting an education, earning a much-needed extra income and taking care of their families.

FOOD SECURITY

When a community receives a water project, they can often use the new water source to plant small gardens near their homes and secure their own food supply. Self-sufficient households are less affected by external conflict, famine or inadequate government services.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

In Africa alone, the overall economic loss due to lack of safe water and sanitation is $28 billion. Every $1 invested in improved water access and sanitation can yield $12 in economic returns, depending on the project.

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