Of all the various crises besetting the developing world, the water crisis may be the hardest for those of us living comfortable lives to comprehend. We are never far from a tap that provides free water or a store where we can buy bottled water. That’s quite different from large parts of the rest of the world, where finding clean water is a daily life or death struggle. Watching this infographic video should give you some sense of exactly what makes water such a difficult problem in Africa.
[Does the narrator’s voice sound familiar? It’s Kristen Bell]
Created by Jonathan Jarvis — the same guy who created the epic Crisis of Credit video — It’s a promotional video for CharityWater, an organization that completes water projects, like building wells, in Africa. And because water is so ubiquitous to us, they need to make sure we know that our donations go to something that is truly necessary. And necessary it is: Nearly one billion people around the world don’t have access to clean drinking water. This leads to all sorts of secondary issues that you may not have even considered. For instance, trekking to find water, which takes time away from work and school.
And it’s not just a run to the corner store. Women and children often spend up to three hours each day fetching water, which keeps them out of school and out of participating in the economy. In fact, for some African women, water collection is the task they spend the most time on:
And the water they find is usually contaminated, leading to sickness — and more wasted productivity — and death. Every 19 seconds, a child dies from a waterborne disease. What’s the solution? That’s where CharityWater comes in, funding projects like water-filtration systems and good, old-fashioned wells. Saving time and health with close, clean water supplies allows more time for school and work, the building blocks of development:
Clean water could mean 40 billion more hours of productivity for Africa. It may seems a little crass to say that we’re saving people’s lives so that they can work more, but working more means more money (and money that doesn’t have to be spent on the doctor because of waterborne illness). More money means more food, and more education, which means more clean water. It’s simply flipping a vicious cycle into something more positive.