(BPT) - More than 663 million people around the world, nearly twice the population of the United States, lack access to clean and safe drinking water. The majority of those affected live in isolated, rural areas in developing countries. Women and children are especially burdened with the task of walking hours each day to fetch water, which is often contaminated. March 22 marks World Water Day, aimed at increasing awareness of this worldwide issue and inspiring action.
Why is access to clean water so important? According to charity: water, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations, having access to clean water changes everything, including:
* In Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours each year walking to get water. Women and young girls especially bear the brunt of this work, often spending up to 3 hours each day hauling 40-pound Jerry Cans filled with water. Access to a clean water source allows people more time to earn an income, provide for their families, or go to school.
Access to Education
* Time spent collecting water is time spent out of school. Having access to clean water allows children, girls especially, to attend school on a regular basis.
* Diseases from dirty water kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Forty-three percent of those deaths are children under the age of 5. Access to clean water can save 16,000 lives per week.
* In Sub-Saharan Africa, women are responsible for 72 percent of the water collection, which
hinders them in all other aspects of life. Having access to water gives these women the chance to take charge of their futures.
The Global Water Crisis may seem daunting to overcome, but there are ways we can help. This World Water Day, Emergen-C(R) and charity: water are launching an ongoing partnership to bring clean and safe drinking water to communities throughout Ethiopia.
"Emergen-C recognizes the power of clean water," said Jennifer Holahan, marketing director, U.S. Specialty Supplements. "Our product relies on and transforms it, but we want to transform much more than water. We want to help drive change and transform lives. Having access to clean water means improved health, enhanced education opportunities and women empowerment in afflicted countries."
"We believe clean drinking water is one of the most powerful and effective ways to lift people out of extreme poverty; especially impacting women and children who often spend hours each day walking to collect unsafe water for their families," said Scott Harrison, founder and CEO of charity: water. "We're excited that Emergen-C is joining our mission by bringing clean and safe drinking water to thousands of people in need and spreading awareness of the incredible impact clean water makes within those communities."
On World Water Day, Emergen-C and charity: water are kicking off the #40Pounds Challenge to raise awareness and demonstrate the weight that women and girls carry in water on a daily basis. To participate, individuals are invited to upload a picture holding 40 pounds of anything found around the house, to Instagram or Twitter with #40Pounds and tag @emergenc. The organizations are inviting you to extend the challenge to friends or family members by tagging them as well. For every photo uploaded, Emergen-C will donate to charity: water as part of the overall effort to "lift the burden" and bring clean, safe drinking water to communities in Ethiopia. "Fuller House" actress and mother of two daughters, Lori Loughlin, is serving as the voice of the campaign.
For more information on the partnership between charity: water and Emergen-C, the official rules for the challenge, and other ways to get involved, visit www.emergenctransforms.com.
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