Famed Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci once said that “water is the driving force of all nature.” Like many of da Vinci’s designs and inventions, this quote rings just as true today as it did in the 15th century. Water is the ultimate elixir of life – all forms of nature need it, including humans, who are made about 60% just water! Without it, life on earth would be impossible. On Friday, the world celebrated UN World Water Day – the day where we celebrate the importance and power of water worldwide.
Yet World Water Day is about so much more than just how awesome water is. It is our duty today and every day to recognize the massive water-related inequalities worldwide. Sadly, some 780 million people worldwide do not have access to clean water. Even more people – upwards of 35% of the world’s population – do not have access to improved sanitation, such as hand-washing stations and latrines. Lack of clean water and sanitation is a catastrophe for many reasons, including high disease transmission rates and poor nutrition.
Zambia is one of the nations most affected by water inequality – especially in rural areas. According to UNICEF Zambia, only 44% of rural Zambians use clean drinking water services and only 19% use basic sanitation services. As an organization serving the needs of rural Zambian communities, we have a duty to do all in our capacity to fight against this inequality.
Impact Network’s projects live up to this duty – our schools have a borehole nearby with safe drinking water not only for the schools, but for the local communities as well. Our schools have latrines for students and hand washing stations located close by.
Recently, our work with water security has increased with a community school pilot farm project at 3 schools with funding from the Bayer Foundation. With this project, entitled Seeds to Grow, we are training students at the schools how to grow crops, including water maximization and importance. We are also in the process of implementing “VIP WASH Stations” at seven of our existing schools. These improved stations will provide well-needed increased sanitation space for older grades in our schools.
In short, next time you drink a glass of water, cherish it. We’re happy and proud to be fighting against water inequality with our current and future projects, but there is still much more work to be done.