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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Clean Water Saving and Changing Lives? - Here is Proof!

The vision of providing clean drinking water to the world is something I wake up thinking about every day. Why? Well for starters, it's a fact that 3.4 million people die every year from waterborne sickness making bacterially contaminated water the #1 killer in the world. Secondly, I've personally met people from all over the world who have lost loved ones due to a lack of safe drinking water. My conversations with them live permanently in my heart.

I traveled to a Fijian village a few years ago with a Doctor who told me she recently had 2 different mothers bring their dead babies to her clinic. Both babies died from severe dehydration as a result of drinking bacteria-filled water.

On a recent trip to Liberia, a mother who lived in a rural bush village begged me to bring water filters to her village because the creek where they fetched their water from was literally killing her children.

I learned that a common set of questions in Liberia is "how many children have you birthed?" and "how many children are still living?"

Do these conversations bother you as much as they bothered me? They are real and very common in many parts of the world.

So my days are consumed with the following thoughts... How can I get more clean drinking water filter systems into the homes of people who so desperately need them? Who can I train and equip so the impact of clean water will exponentially multiply? And how can I use my love for systems to help organizations not only track the amount of clean water they give, but also track the impact that clean water has on diarrhea reduction, kids missing less school, adults missing less work, medical cost savings, and purchased water savings? When you follow my travels, this is what I'm doing.

A key nitch of my clean water journey has been "proving" all of these changes with real-life data collected on smartphones and tablets. I guess you could say I spend a lot of my time building capacity into people from different countries teaching them not only how to install and sustain water filter systems, but also to conduct surveys of each household that receives a clean water system. These "before and after" surveys are proving and quantifying how clean water is changing lives.

Here is an example. In a recent batch of 3.000 households surveyed, 2,197 of them reported cases of diarrhea. Two weeks after those families received water filter systems in their homes, that number was down to only 107 cases of diarrhea! That's a 95% reduction!
Coughs, sore throats, skin rash, vomiting, and headache all had dramatic decreases as well. There was also a big increase in households that reported "No symptoms" after the first follow up.

In addition to the stats, we can track everything we collect on a map. Here are maps of our progress in Liberia. 
Liberia Clean Water Progress - Green is Install - Yellow is1st Follow Up - Orange is 2nd Follow-Up - Red are County Assessments


Fuamah District, Bong County Liberia - Each dot represents a cluster of villages.
I think you get the idea. Data is "the deal." To date, I've had the privilege of personally training data teams in Fiji, Liberia, Mexico, Kenya, India, and Haiti, and being a part of installing filter systems in over 30 countries! I love my job! In my next post, I'll introduce you to some of my favorite clean water heroes around the world!



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