Saturday, March 10, 2012

Access to Healthy Water

Two summers ago, our Vacation Bible School decided to choose this issue to talk with the kids about and raise funds.  Through the one week, we raised over $600, which went to Lutheran World Relief to help build wells for communities. 
Water is one of the necessities for life. (I’m singing “The Bare Necessities” in my headJ).  Many in the western world take the abundance of clean water for granted, my family included.  We turn on the faucet and there is water to drink, clean with, cook with, or do whatever we want with.  We can even choose if we want the water hot or cold. 
I decided to look at some websites and see if they had published materials on the topic (I was sure they had …and they did.)  The World Health Organization (WHO) has published “Guidelines for drinking-water quality.”  As described by the United Nations (UN) this is a set of “international norms on water quality and human health in the form of guidelines that are used as the basis for regulation and standard setting, in developing and developed countries worldwide.”
I decided to look up information on Madagascar.  We have some friends who have recently begun a 4 year stay there and so thought this would be a great place to see how their water rates.  WHO has an office in Madagascar and some information including in a  Health Profile, which compares their numbers to the WHO African Region.  As of 2002 75% of the urban population had access to an improved water source and only 34% in rural areas.  These are lower percentages than the WHO African Region, which means there is still work to do.   One of the WHO’s millennium goals in Madagascar is to improve access to an improved water source, although I was not able to find information on how they are going about this work.  A correction.  The materials may be there, but they aren’t in English, so I don’t know if they exist or not.
The UN is currently near the end of their decade focus on water.  The Water for Life section has a site specifically dedicated for educating kids about different water issues.  I think I will be getting my kids linked in here … and start some conversations in our home as to how we can do our part.


  1. Hi Amy,
    Wow we do take water for granted! On a recent class field trip with my 4th grade daughter we went to a colonial mansion. It was a learning experience! The amount of water logging and heating the servants had to do on a daily basis was enormous. I didn't realize how easy we have it today in the US. I turn the faucet on an I get water, and it can be hot or cold. We are trying to be more environmentally conscious and using our water wisely, taking short showers, turning off the water while brushing our teeth. I'm curious what else we could do? We would love more ideas if you could share!


  2. A clean water source is vital for a healthy development. I know when we lived in South Korea we were not allowed to drink the water off base unless we boiled it first. We had to purchase bottled water to use. In this area you also had to drink a lot in order to keep from dehydrating during the warm months. You never know how important safe water is until you don't have access to it.