“Roughly one-sixth of the world’s population, or 1.1 billion people, don’t have access to safe drinking water.”
“Eighty percent of diseases in the developing world are caused by contaminated water.”
“People in the developing world walk an average of 3.7 miles (6 km) a day to collect water for basic needs.”
These are just a few of the shocking statistics I discovered in the past week on Twitter, leading up to World Water Day–today, March 22.
But, I also discovered that by making a birthday wish, I could personally help solve this massive problem.
From my home in California, it’s hard to imagine not being able to simply turn a faucet to get the water I need to drink, wash my clothes, or cook. And sure, I take my dogs for a long, leisurely walk every day, but am I physically capable of trekking three hours to and from a swamp, carrying a 40-pound jug of contaminated water for half the distance? No way.
Luckily, a number of ambitious, committed organizations are working to educate people like me about the shortage of potable water in developing countries. And, these same organizations work on the ground in some of the world’s most inhospitable areas to deliver safe drinking water and sanitation to millions of people who lack it.
One of the most prolific organizations working to solve the global water crisis is charity: water. Founded in 2006, charity: water uses a savvy social networking strategy and engaging videos to generate donations, which are used to build wells in rural communities in developing countries. (Read this blog post by Charlie Treadwell for more details on charity: water’s effective social networking campaigns).
With its birthday campaign, charity: water gives people like me a simple and personal way to contribute to solving the global water crisis:
One issue on which Cisco focuses its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts is critical human needs, and that includes water. Cisco and the Cisco Foundation match employee gifts to and/or provide cash and product grants to the following charities to help them bring more clean water to more people who lack it:
- Blue Planet Network
- charity: water
- Haven Partnership
- Hope and Kindness
- One Drop
- Pump Aid
- Water for People
After I watched the video posted above, I visited the charity: water website and pledged to “give up” my birthday this year. I don’t need gifts, but millions of people need the seemingly simplest of things: a glass of clean water.
Cisco is committed to supporting organizations run by people who know that know access to clean water can prevent disease, increase economic opportunity, and reduce poverty in developing countries, and now so am I.
On World Water Day, I invite you to join us. Please consider giving up your birthday for charity: water, or making a donation to another organization listed above.