Banu and Komsie live on different continents, yet they share a daily struggle. Every morning, they collect water for their respective families. They don’t turn on the faucet in their kitchen.
Komsie walks for two hours to a dry riverbed, waits in line for two more hours and then starts digging. Once she has secured fifty pounds of water, she places it on her back and begins a two-hour walk home in the sweltering sun. To collect enough water for her family, Banu makes her 40-minute roundtrip journey to a contaminated pond two to three times each day.
On the way home, they each worry whether the water they collected will harm their family. The time spent securing water is time spent not working. They worry about how they will provide the basics, like food, for their families.
Banu lives with her family in Bangladesh; Komsie lives with her family in Ethiopia. They are both mothers doing their best to provide for their children. They represent two of the 780 million mothers, fathers and children without access to safe water.
Water-related disease claims the lives of 5,000 children each day, making it the second biggest killer of children worldwide. Every 20 seconds a child dies from water-related disease such as diarrhea.
Recognizing that these deaths are entirely preventable, our partner Water.org actively implements a portfolio of solutions tailored to the needs of individual communities ranging from providing direct access to pioneering alternative ways to finance and deliver safe water and sanitation.
One proven innovation is WaterCredit. Pioneered in 2003, WaterCredit applies the principles of microfinance to the water sector. Johnson & Johnson is one of the supporters of WaterCredit, which has helped more than 340,000 people gain access to safe water and sanitation.
With small loans given to those who do not have access to traditional credit markets, WaterCredit empowers people to immediately address their own water and sanitation needs. A WaterCredit loan can reach five to ten times as many people as a traditional grant over a ten-year period.
For Komsie and Banu, receiving a small loan through WaterCredit has had a life-changing impact. They no longer make the daily journey to a polluted water source. They have a clean source of water right near their homes. Time that these mothers once spent collecting water can now be devoted to their children and keeping their families healthy.