International Women's Day: Lighten the Burden
At this very moment, millions of women are carrying 40 pounds of water on the return leg of their average 3.5-mile daily trek.
So today, on International Women's Day, I want to pay tribute to the resiliency of these women, and highlight the collective possibility they embody -- if freed from the back-breaking and time-consuming burden of collecting water.
Providing women with access to a nearby source of clean water frees up their days to earn an income or engage in other more productive activities – which can help significantly elevate their status in the community.
Nakwetikya is a great example of this. As part of a committee formed to look after a well supported by WaterAid in Ndedo, Tanzania, she has witnessed a dramatic shift in attitudes toward women in her community:
"Before we formed a [water] committee and prepared ourselves as a community, men just saw women as animals. I think they thought of us as bats flapping around them. They had no respect for us and no one would allow you to speak or listen to what you had to say. When I stand up now in a group I am not an animal. I am a woman with a valid opinion. We have been encouraged and trained and the whole community has learned to understand us."
You can read more stories like Nakwetikya's at http://action.globalwaterchallenge.org/womensday
You can help bring clean water to women around the world by participating in the Dow Live Earth Run for Water on April 18th: http://liveearth.org/run.
GWC will receive funds raised in the United States and invest these funds so that women and girls can have a better shot at fulfilling their potential.
I hope you are able to participate in what will be the largest event ever to raise awareness and funds about the critical issue of clean water.
Thanks for your support!
By Tanvi Nagpal, GWC’s Director of Water and Sanitation Initiatives. Global Water Challenge is a coalition of 24 leading organizations, working together to achieve universal access to clean water and adequate sanitation. Learn more at www.globalwaterchallenge.org.