In everything we do, we seek to serve the whole person: physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. Whether addressing the needs of a vulnerable child, the challenges facing a family in poverty, or the issues preventing a community from thriving, we deal with specific problems with the understanding that each issue interacts with and impacts others. In this series, we focus on one specific facet of the complex challenges facing those in need around the world.
“Water is life.” Most of us would agree with that statement without even thinking. That’s actually very telling: most of us haven’t had to worry about whether the water we use is clean or safe. The truth is, clean water is life. Unfortunately, for many in the developing world, finding a life-giving water source is really hard…with life-and-death consequences. For Cross International, there are few issues more critical to address in the communities we serve than clean water.
According to the World Health Organization, 785 million people in the world lack even a basic drinking-water service. Of those, 144 million depend on surface water from rivers, lakes, or streams. At least 2 billion people depend on a drinking water source contaminated with feces. In these circumstances, the very substance that is supposed to bring life often brings death. Contaminated drinking water causes an estimated 485 thousand diarrhoeal deaths each year. Diseases such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio lurk in contaminated water.
The impact of contaminated water is clear, but the issue is actually complex to address. A clean water source is essential, but to provide that water to a community, much more is needed. Communities must learn proper hygiene and sanitation practices so the water remains clean all the way from the source to a thirsty child’s lips. It must be carried, stored, and served in clean vessels. Maintaining a clean water source and equipment requires local leadership who are committed to plan for needed repairs…and the financial stability to pay for them. Providing clean water means understanding and addressing these interrelated issues.
Cross International is committed to working with our local ministry partners to do the hard work needed to solve these problems. When we commit to a water project, we rely on local information. We know our partners have evaluated the broader community needs and often have integrated programs in place. One hundred percent of our clean water programs incorporate WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) training to make sure local people know how to handle clean water appropriately. We also develop local leadership’s commitment to the ongoing monitoring and upkeep of the project’s work.
Over years of successful clean water initiatives, we’ve constantly improved our methodology and our commitment to technical expertise with partners who truly know how to provide clean water…and all the necessary services that support it. Years of experience–and the benefit of monitoring the progress of water projects over time–have shown us which approaches truly bring life-giving health. Our goal is always to have a long-term positive impact, and we have learned that clean water is worth the investment. You get what you pay for, so we work only with experienced drilling companies who can guarantee their work.
The good news? Solving a community’s need for clean water has a huge impact! An obvious and tremendous benefit is the health of children and families who have access to clean water. The absence of the diseases and illness in contaminated water mean that these families are able to work, learn, play, and grow. Clean water access is particularly important for women and girls. Rather than having to walk for hours each day to draw and carry water, these wonderful women can manage small businesses and provide for their families. For young girls, not having to fetch water can mean as much as 25% more time in school, soaking in valuable education.
Clean water is life, and so many communities around the world still need its life-giving flow. With your help, Cross International is able to bring clean water to literally thousands of children and their families annually. We prioritize locations that have never had a clean water source. Will you join us in bringing life-giving water and the life-giving love of God to so many who still need our help? The positive impacts will continue for generations to come!