Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kills more
people annually than all forms of violence, including war.(1)
In the world, 663 million people do not have access to clean water,(2)
the vast majority of whom are impoverished.
What’s important to God is important to us. This seems important.
So why Africa? Almost half of the world’s population that lacks clean water – 330 million people – live in Africa.(3)
And why remote areas in East Africa? Because 84% of those water-deprived Africans live in rural areas.(3)
As our focus on the problem grows more specific, the necessity for clean water becomes more evident. We work in Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania, where women and children bear the brunt of this cruel injustice. UNICEF reports that in sub-Saharan Africa one in five children die before their fifth birthday due to water-borne illnesses, which they contract from drinking dirty water.(4)
People in Sub-Saharan Africa spend around 40 billion hours per year carrying water.(5) And the bulk of those hauling the water are women and children. 64% of households rely on women to retrieve their water when there is no source at home.(6) To make things worse, the walk to get water can lead to negative consequences such as…
Disease – Reducing the time spent walking to fetch water by 15 minutes lessens the mortality rate in children under the age of five by 11 percent and nutrition-depleting diarrhea by 41%.(5)
Danger – Harassment, sexual assault, animal attacks and other hazards can arise during these long walks.
Lost education – Children miss school to fetch water. In total, 443 million school days are lost to water-related illnesses.
Physical strain – A normal water container weighs about 40 pounds when it’s full, which takes a toll on a woman’s spine over the years. Women experience back pain much earlier in life.
Although this seems like an incredibly dire situation, there is hope! In the past 23 years, 2 billion people have gained access to clean water.(9) Marion Medical Mission has played an active role in this fight against dirty water. Since 1990, we have built over 35,000 wells in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia providing over four million people with a sustainable source of safe drinking water. Without Christ, that would’ve been impossible! With Him, all is possible. And by His power, we believe that countless millions of others will receive life-giving water.
“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them”
Jesus said in John 7:37-38, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”