Working together to save children’s lives through clean water – Part 1

Partnership is a key to success in almost every area of life. You’ve probably heard it said, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Across the world, FH partners with other non-profit organizations, governments, churches, schools and local community groups to help meet physical and spiritual needs of resource-poor families.

In Bolivia, recently, a 15-month-long partnership with Messiah College and Sawyer Products helped advance technology for improving access to clean water in struggling communities worldwide. The partnership was meant to test the effectiveness of the Sawyer PointOne water filter in reducing diarrhea among young children aged 6 months to 3 years.

Karen Neiswender, left, is an FH staff member who helped administer this study. Here she stands with mothers from Uspha Uspha, a village near the bustling city of Cochabamba, and their new water filters.

In this photo, a young program participant is held by his older sister. Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death in children under five and kills about 1.5 million children a year in mainly low- and middle-income countries (source). 

Uspha Uspha was chosen for this study because of its lack of access to clean water. There is no water or sewer connection in Uspha Uspha; instead, unpurified water is delivered to homes by truck, but this water is not safe for drinking.

The director of this study actually followed the water trucks to see the source of this water, and they found it was collected from the river, canals and other unprotected, unclean sources. This water was going straight from the countryside into the people’s mouths, causing an array of infections and diseases.

Upon delivery, the water traditionally is stored in these old drums. Water can be delivered several times a week, and the high price costs each family almost $6 USD per month for this service. When the daily income is only $1-2 per day, that means up to six days’ wages will be spent just on water each month. 
About 2,130 young children from 1,700 households participated in this study which worked primarily through mothers who volunteered for the program. 

In the next blog post for Poverty 180’s Water group, we’ll see the results and more photos from this study!

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