Former President Bill Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, got a personal look at the toll of unsafe water on a community as part of their visit to Groupe Scholaire Camp Kanombe primary school in Kigali, Rwanda.
UNICEF estimates nearly 2,000 children die every day from diarrhea — more than HIV/AIDS and malaria combined.
World Vision and Procter & Gamble are partnering to change that. During the father and daughter visit, water experts demonstrated P&G water purification packets. Within 30 minutes the small packet transforms brown, dirty, and dangerous water, making it safe for drinking.
“It’s one of the simplest things we can do to save lives,” President Clinton says.
“It’s more than just a transformation of the water — it’s life-saving work,” says Greg Allgood, World Vision vice president of water and founder of the P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water program.
During the visit the Clintons were able to talk with rural children and community members from the town of Ntarama to learn the challenges of not having clean, easily accessible water.
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World Vision plans to provide 90 percent access to safe water supply by 2016 in the areas where the organization works in Rwanda.
World Vision is using key corporate and private donor partnerships, like P&G, as well as new technology to dramatically increase the speed and scope of its water work.
In just the last two years, World Vision had increased four times its capacity to provide clean water in the developing world, making it the largest nonprofit provider of clean water in rural areas worldwide.
“Let me say how grateful I am to both P&G, one of the greatest companies in the world in terms of its responsibilities to society and building into their business model lifting lives of people, and to World Vision, one of the great treasures of NGOs, and the fact that they’re doing this together means a lot to me,” President Clinton says.
The scaling up is part of World Vision’s Campaign For Every Child. Through the campaign, World Vision will reach more than 6 million people with clean water, spending $400 million in a five-year period.
Water is one critical element of World Vision’s comprehensive, holistic development program.
“Our staff has seen firsthand how lives change when you bring clean water into a community,” says George Gitau, national director of World Vision in Rwanda. “It’s an immediate impact — the number of child deaths and malnutrition drop, the number of girls able to attend school rises, and we see more women able to participate in the economy, freed from the time-consuming and back-breaking work of fetching water.”
The Clintons’ visit creates momentum for the Clinton Global Initiative’s Sept. 24 launch of the social media campaign “Flash Flood for Good,” which allows people to join in via Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness for the life-saving impact of clean water.
Funds raised by Flash Flood’s effort will help school children in Rwanda as well as in World Vision programs in Myanmar and Ethiopia.