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Water: The deep, wide reach of a precious gift

Written by Corey Grant on Feb 16, 2023 7:21:00 AM


Wearing a rose-colored head covering, a girl has a serious expression on her face.

Firdaoussou, 12, stands at the entrance to her home in Kulmado village, Niger.

Twelve-year-old Firdaoussou treks to a community well multiple times a day to collect water for her family. She is the first-born girl in her family — and this is her assumed role. She does not attend school. It is Firdaoussou’s job to help her mother cook and keep the house clean, as well as to collect dirty water and haul it back home.

“It is an open well,” says Aissa, her mother. “Because the water is dirty it brings stomach pains, diarrhea, and skin rash. We can see the water is dirty, especially when things fall inside it — plastic bags, leaves, frogs.”

Around the world, 771 million people lack access to clean water. The burden of water collection falls primarily on women and girls like Firdaoussou, who walk an average of 6 kilometers a day to haul 40 pounds of water. It's a full-time, physically taxing, future-robbing job. Access to clean water also plays a critical role in addressing the global hunger crisis. Dirty water leads to or worsens malnutrition, which contributes to nearly half of all deaths of children under ­five. The water problem looms large and casts a long shadow, adding to the darkness of global issues like extreme poverty, lack of healthcare, and worsening hunger.

That’s why a passion for clean water runs deep at World Vision deep enough to reach one new person every 10 seconds and three more schools every day with clean water.


High enough

Zambia FTJ Projected Completion slides GIF Opt 2


World Vision is committed to reaching everyone, everywhere we work, with clean water. Together with our donors and partners, we will do this in Rwanda by the end of this year, in Zambia by 2025, and in Honduras by 2027. As 2022 came to a close, World Vision celebrated reaching 25.5 million people with access to clean water. That’s more than the entire population of Florida! Thanks to generous donors, strategic partnerships, a global footprint, and connection with local faith leaders, World Vision is the leading nongovernmental provider of clean water in the developing world.


deep enough


Gladys, 3, fills her glass with clean water piped right to her family's home in Yamaranguila, Honduras, as her sister Nellie, 6, watches. Like all the residents of Yamaranguila, they now have clean water for washing and drinking right at home.


For generations, many people in Honduras walked miles to fill their clay pots at a river or spring or from a shallow well. In rural areas of the country, 1.2 million people do not have access to clean water. People are forced to drink from streams or open wells where animals defecate and people bathe and wash clothes. This leads to dysentery, typhoid fever, and other waterborne diseases.

But because of the generosity and faithful partnership of donors like you, the steep mountainsides surrounding Yamaranguila are now threaded with water pipes — like arteries transporting life-giving blood to the rest of the body — connecting to every home and school.

“We have 100% access to clean water,” says the mayor, Jose Rodriguez. “World Vision has been a major partner in that achievement.”

Together, we’ve helped provide training, organization, and construction, including water tanks, filtration systems, and water connections to schools and health centers. Each community water system is managed by its own elected council, which has committees dedicated to maintenance, sanitation, and health.

With the overwhelming success of similar clean water programs in nations like Rwanda, World Vision is setting our sights on reaching more than half of the people in rural Honduras who lack access to clean water by 2027.


Wide enough


Loveness, 14, and her grandmother, Valleria, collect clean water from the new mechanized borehole in their community.


Fourteen-year-old Loveness spent many mornings daydreaming of becoming a doctor. But for a long time, that ambition felt beyond reach. The Zambian teenager struggled in school because she spent up to six hours each day collecting water for her family. “I had no time to study. Most of the time for studying was spent getting water,” she says. Not only did she not have time for homework, but the morning walk for water regularly made her late to school. She was quickly falling behind.

Through the faithfulness and generosity of partners like you, World Vision worked with community members to build a mechanized borehole, which serves Loveness’s school and the surrounding area. Soon, her life began to look different. “I now have enough time to study. I no longer come late for school,” she says. She can now pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. She’s gone from failing grades to nearly perfect ones.

Clean water also means more economic opportunities for her grandmother, who struggled to support her family. Valleria weaves baskets from sticks and dried grasses, but she only had limited time to make the baskets and sell them at a local market. Collecting water consumed her days. But now she is free to dedicate herself to weaving the baskets, earning more income for her family.

With the continued support of donors and partners, Word Vision aims to stretch even wider, breaking up the shadow of the global water crisis and extending beyond previous limits to reach more people with access to clean water.


Water changes everything

As faithful followers of God, we know that the Lord has a special place in His heart for the world’s most vulnerable. For as He says, “The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them” (Isaiah 41:17, NIV).

Give to the Global Water Fund and equip people to transform their lives.

We have been able to leverage $4 in funds from other sources for every $1 you give to the Global Water Fund. This means that every $1 investment will have an impact of $5. Our track record over five years shows that for every $1 in U.S. donor funds, we can add $1.50 in grants from governments and intergovernmental agencies, including UNICEF and USAID; about $1.50 from allocation of sponsorship funds; and about $1 from foundations and corporations, including our long-term partners the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and P&G. 

Thank you for believing that the precious gift of water is high enough, deep enough, and wide enough to cover every single person. Together, we can make the dream a reality: water for everyone.