Just how important is water? Consider this: Each dollar spent on improving water and sanitation creates an average of eight more dollars in costs averted and productivity gained.
One of NuggetLove’s partners, Drop in the Bucket, works to do just this every day. Drop in the Bucket is a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization that constructs wells and sanitation systems at schools in East Africa. NuggetLove has partnered with Drop in the Bucket to increase awareness of the issues surrounding clean water and sustainable well projects.
From crafting text for the web, creating visual stories and developing other branding materials, to collaborating to produce proposals and create strategic fundraising plans, we are working together to make a big impact in the communities where Drop in the Bucket works. We also strive to be an example for other organizations doing this type of work, as well as for other companies and their philanthropies. Beyond giving, we collaborate to empower sustainability for as many people as we possibly can.
Since forming in 2006, Drop in the Bucket has completed more than 350 projects. Although many people consider Drop in the Bucket a charity focused on water solutions, their primary focus has always been poverty reduction through education. Their work is centered around giving children access to clean water as a vehicle for education and empowerment.
Drop in the Bucket gives tools to partner communities enabling projects to have enhanced sustainability, while also gaining opportunities for economic freedom.
Mission: Clean water is a basic human right that must be met in order to help people break the cycle of poverty.
Vision: Drop in the Bucket believes that every school should have access to clean water and improved sanitation facilities in order to create an environment that is conducive to health, attendance, and learning.
Goal: To provide schools and communities with the tools they need to improve child health, increase school enrollment rates, promote gender equality, and achieve economic stability.
How Drop in the Bucket Works
Drop in the Bucket works in beneficiary communities to eliminate poverty and water-related illness via five critical interventions:
- BUILDING WELLS: Water wells are cost effective and can last for generations when properly maintained. Drop in the Bucket drills down to the aquifer to provide naturally filtered water, and tests the water for purity at each site to ensure the water is safe. Once they have built the well, they provide the locals with tools and train them in simple repairs, help set up funds to pay for future repair costs, and come back regularly to check in. Beyond installation, Drop in the Bucket’s job is that when, and if, a well breaks, to help ensure it doesn’t stay broken.
- SUPPORTING EDUCATION: By locating wells in schools and providing water-related educational materials, Drop in the Bucket supports education in the village. Attendance increases when a well is built, particularly among girls, who are typically tasked with fetching the family’s daily water.
When water is at the school, girls can come to school instead of having to journey long distances to fetch the family’s water.
- PROVIDING SANITATION: In addition to wells, Drop in the Bucket installs flush latrines at schools and provides materials to teach students about proper sanitation.
This information then spreads throughout the village, further reducing sanitation-related illnesses and deaths.
- EMPOWERING GIRLS: Drop in the Bucket offers programs to help ensure girls (who tend to have a higher dropout rate) stay in school, delaying marriage and reducing the risk of death in childbirth. Educated girls grow to have a voice in their community, a better understanding of economics and opportunities, and as they parent future generations, can improve the quality of life in the village for decades to come.
- MAINTAINING WELLS THROUGH MICROFINANCE: Savings groups are small, microfinance community groups that ensure that wells are sustainable for the beneficiaries, enabling community members to stay proactive in caring for and repairing them by saving and setting aside the necessary funds. The opportunity to save and borrow money empowers community members, especially women, to start and scale businesses — giving them more economic stability, as well as the opportunity to pay for school fees and ensure that all children go to school.
In Africa, more than a quarter of the population spends more than 30 minutes, sometimes up to six hours, walking 3.75 miles to collect enough water for the day. Women and children are mostly responsible for fetching water and caring for the sick (who primarily fall ill due to unclean water). This means that women and children have less time to spend on other important activities, such as going to school or working on a business venture, whereas men and boys can spend their days getting educated and making money. The myriad of benefits and resulting possibilities of children receiving an education creates a positive ripple effect that improves lives today and for generations to come.
- If the world did nothing besides providing access to clean water, without any other medical involvement, we could save two million lives per year.
- Every dollar spent on better access to water and sanitation systems generates about eight more dollars in costs avoided and productivity gained.
- Studies have shown that crop yields could rise up to 22 percent if women farmers had the same education and input, as men farmers. Furthermore, a person’s salary would increase by 10 percent for every year of schooling they complete, which translates to a one percent annual increase in GDP.
The well projects and related interventions will make it possible for children to go to school and get an education; communities will be healthier and more prosperous, and a culture of savings will be created to empower communities to reach for a better life. One well will serve a school with between 800 and 1200 people, allowing students to spend time in class rather than hours fetching water. The wells are used not only by the pupils and staff of the school, but also by the neighboring villages, meaning each well has the potential to benefit more than 1,000 people, thus providing greater health, more educated minds, and setting positive changes in motion, both today and for generations to come.
Village savings and loan groups will support the sustainability of the wells and offer opportunities for community members to have greater economic stability. The savings groups will grow the local economy while empowering beneficiaries. This will create a culture of saving and promote financial planning. Beneficiary savings group members tend to consider and prioritize school fees first.
Visit the Drop in the Bucket website to learn more and find out how you can support their amazing work: https://www.dropinthebucket.org/getinvolved/
“Water is essential to all life; yet, nearly 800 million people lack dependable access to clean water and about 2.5 billion people lack access to modern sanitation, putting them at risk of disease. Every year, two million children die from preventable disease as a result of poor water quality. Climate change is putting global water resources under enormous pressure, making reliable access to safe water a growing challenge and fuelling competition for resources. While issues of water and sanitation are often looked at in isolation, they are directly tied to issues of food security, global health, and climate change.” – Beatrice Nakibuuka
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