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Global Action for Children

Drinking Water’s Impact on the Cycle of Poverty

Allison Tummon Kamphuis

Program Leader, P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program

How does clean drinking water impact the cycle of poverty? 

Clean drinking water is one of the most basic needs for any child and their family. Lack of clean water and proper sanitation collectively cause major health problems around the world, and even today there are still nearly 1,000 children dying every day from water-borne diseases — more deaths than from HIV/AIDS and malaria combined. 

Having clean water transforms lives. When children are healthy and can attend school, they can further their education.  For women and girls who often bear the burden of household-water needs, having clean water allows for spending more time in school and for women to focus on other, more productive opportunities to help lift their families out of the cycle of poverty.

What type of technology is used in the CSDW Program?

For more than 180 years, P&G has been devoted to developing innovative cleaning technologies for our trusted brands like Tide, Crest and Pampers. P&G scientists developed a powdered technology that can clean and disinfect dirty drinking water.  Each P&G water purification packet contains a powdered mixture that contains coagulants, flocculants and a chlorine disinfectant. These chemical ingredients are commonly used all around the world in drinking water treatment facilities. With only a bucket, a spoon, a cloth and a small P&G packet, anyone can transform and purify 10 liters of dirty water in 30 minutes.

What are some of the most common water-borne illnesses? How does this technology prevent them? 

The most common waterborne illnesses are caused by bacteria (e. coli, salmonella, cholera), viruses (poliovirus, rotavirus) and parasites (giardia, cryptosporidium)

The disinfectant in P&G Purifier of Water can kill 99.99999 percent of bacteria and 99.99 percent of viruses, while the flocculant/disinfectant removes 99.9 percent of cysts (parasites like cryptosporidium and giardia).

What populations are most impacted by unsafe drinking water?

Nearly 844 million people lack access to clean drinking water and children under age five are one of the most at-risk populations. Other vulnerable groups who are impacted include people living with HIV/AIDS, malnutrition and survivors of natural disasters.  Since 2004, the P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program has reached children and vulnerable people in more than 90 countries primarily in Sub-Sahara Africa, Asia and Latin America, where emergencies are prevalent and uninterrupted access to clean drinking water is a challenge.

What can the public do to support clean drinking water initiatives? 

There are many things people can do to help support UN Sustainable Development Goal #6 — access to clean water and proper sanitation for all. Tell your family and friends about the clean water and sanitation challenges around the world. Have them write letters to government representatives and encourage them to find and fund solutions to water, sanitation and hygiene issues. Host a fundraiser to support the CSDW program and our safe drinking water partner projects in developing countries. A $1 donation gives a child clean water for 50 days. $7.50 gives a child clean water for one year, and $30 gives a family of five clean water for a year. 

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