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The Power of 10 – Transforming Lives with 10 Billion Liters of Clean Drinking Water

May 3, 2016

Allison Tummon Kamphuis

Today, in Mexico City and around the world, we are celebrating the Power of 10 as the P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program (CSDW) has reached an important milestone – 10 billion liters of clean drinking water have now been distributed, touching and improving lives in more than 75 countries. We’re celebrating this achievement this week, and throughout the month of May, in more than 20 countries, with our partners including humanitarian and emergency relief organizations, governments, business partners, our employees, P&G consumers and many other collaborators who have helped the CSDW Program reach this tremendous milestone. That’s 1 billion packets worth of life-changing clean water in just over 11 years.

The 10 billionth liter was provided to Margarita, Gabriel, and their children Alejandro and Lorena in a community in San Miguel Soyoaltepec near Oaxaca, Mexico. The new project with World Vision Mexico is part of our regional plan that began in 2014 to significantly scale up our efforts in Latin America. P&G Purificador de Agua sachets (what the packets are called in Spanish and Portuguese) are helping thousands more families in the region like Margarita and Gabriel’s to have clean water. Along with proper sanitation and handwashing with soap, clean water has the power to transform lives – by improving health, enabling education and creating economic opportunity for children and families.

Our NGO partner in this program, World Vision is one of our largest implementing partners with whom we’ve worked in more than 35 countries across Sub-Sahara Africa, Asia and the Americas to provide clean water with the P&G packets. In fact, approximately 15% of the clean water distributed in the past 11 years has been in collaboration with World Vision Water. They are the world’s largest non-governmental provider of clean water reaching a new person every 30 seconds. The P&G packets are an incredibly useful tool for World Vision’s WASH efforts in emergencies and in some of the world’s most rural and least developed areas as they can be a ‘bridge’ until more permanent community-level solutions are established (previous blog link)

Ana Paula Gonzalez, Communications Manager from P&G Mexico recently traveled with World Vision Mexico to visit the newest ‘bridge’ project and shared the 10 billionth liter of clean water with Margarita, Gabriel, and their children. Here is her personal account of the transformation of the family’s water and the impact the Power of 10 can have….igracias Ana Paula!

Traveling six hours south from Mexico City, after the highways turned to dirt roads and houses with palm roofs appeared and the mobile signal was gone, we reached the town of Temazcal in Oaxaca to meet the local World Vision Mexico team. The word Temazcal means "hot bath” in Náhuatl and the weather is so warm that the water from the community dam is constantly evaporating and creating a white cloud that does not let you see very far. The easiest way to get to the community is by crossing the lake created by the Miguel Alemán water dam in a small boat. You can see the water is not clean for drinking as there are animals along the shore and women doing their laundry there.

Meeting several mothers in the community at the local school yard, it was clear that for many of them Spanish is only a second language, as they speak Mazatec, their native language. From the top of the hill where the school is, you could see a scenic view of the water dam and hills covered in green. The community is proud and thankful to be part of World Vision’s Area Development Program (ADP) that is focused on improving health and livelihoods in the communities with some important projects like rain water harvesting systems and cisterns, orchards and farm animals plus their dry ecological toilets.

When talking to the families, they expressed how frustrating it is knowing the dam is right there and how they have been taught not drink it as it is unsanitary. They have to walk, row or ride a horse for long distances to get water from springs and wells as the cisterns only work in rainy season and they still have to boil or add chlorine to make the water safe for drinking. The water from the dam is used for laundry, washing the dishes, bathing, watering the orchards and the animals.

The P&G Purifier of Water demonstration made an impression as the women were excited to know they could use the P&G packets to treat the water from the dam and stop those long trips to get water. Margarita and her husband Gabriel were thrilled to hear they wouldn’t have to go get water all the way at the spring. Their 5 year old daughter Lorena was mesmerized by the ‘magic’ of the floc and could not stop staring.

Her 8 year old brother Alejandro talked of his dream to be a teacher and how he wants to stay healthy to go to school to learn everything he will then teach his students. He understands the importance of clean water and so he doesn’t drink from the dam but until now he has to help his mom get water from a well that is very far away from home, time he could spend studying or playing with his friends. With clean water and proper sanitation, Alejandro and Lorena are more likely to stay healthy and able to attend their green painted school every day to study in Mazateco and Spanish and achieve their dreams.

In just over two years we’ve expanded the program from 7 billion to 10 billion liters working with our more than 150 advocacy and implementing partners. It’s inspiring to see that these and many other efforts to address the clean drinking water and sanitation crisis are having a collective impact. UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) now estimate that there are 1,000 children dying each day from diseases caused by contaminated drinking water which is a continuous and significant drop from the 4,000 children dying each day in 2004 when the CSDW Program was established.

As multiple sectors come together to address the global water and sanitation crisis under the new United Nations Global Goals, P&G will continue to play our part and invite our consumers to join in with our advocacy and implementing partners to make Global Goal #6 - ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all - a reality for families like Margarita, Gabriel, Alejandro and Lorena.

The Power of 10 – How YOU can help

To recognize the 10 billion liter milestone, P&G has donated US $1 million to the CSDW Program and for the month of May we are we are making it easy for everyone to help us provide even more clean drinking water through the Power of 10. (video link)  For every dollar donated from May 3 to May 31, 2016, P&G will match each dollar with a US $10 donation up to a total contribution match of US $1 million* You can join us and we’ll multiple your impact with the Power of 10!

We are proud to be able to share the P&G Purifier of Water technology to help provide the power of clean water as we work towards our next goal…to deliver 15 billion liters by 2020.

*For every dollar donated between May 3, 2016 and May 31, 2016, P&G will match with a donation of US$10, up to a total P&G contribution of $1 million to the Children’s Safe Drinking Water Fund, which is a charitable fund managed by the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. For more information, visit csdw.org.

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