Bringing clean drinking water to the children of the world with P&G

 In Why Travel?


Remember that time your child was splashing through the puddles or on a hike with you and they bent down to drink a little of the muddy lake, stream or puddle water along the trail? You cringed in horror just thinking about what could be living in there, crawling around, and ready to jump into your child’s digestive system. You pulled your child up from the water and hand over your water bottle filled with pristine, purified water. Aren’t you glad you had that option? Well, not every mother does.

Dominican Republic

Photo taken in 1997 on a service trip to the bateys outside of La Romana, Dominican Republic

Throughout my travels I’ve seen castles, palaces, cathedrals, rainforest and beaches that would make a mermaid blush with pleasure. I’ve also seem communities built of scavenged material, sheet metal roofs, sometimes no roofs at all, and babies sleeping next to flea bitten animals on a dirt floor. As a teenager traveling to the Dominican Republic and Mexico on service trips, my eyes were opened to the luxuries I had taken for granted. The second I became a mother I felt doubly blessed to have access to sanitary conditions and clean drinking water for my kids.

FACT: Nearly 1000 children die each day due to diseases caused by contaminated drinking water

I’ve seen the all-inclusive luxury resort side of the Dominican Republic. I’m happy that I’ve had those opportunities, but I’ve also seen the third-world nation that is the true face of the Dominican Republic. I’ve meet the mothers and children working in the bateyes; families who have fled Haiti hoping for a better life working in the sugar plantations of the Dominican Republic. These little towns (for lack of a better word) are made up of poorly built structures. School is either a luxury most can’t afford or a long trek to attend. Clean water is certainly a second thought when you are just trying to survive and get though the day, and yet clean water could make all the difference when trying to make it from one day to the next.

Dominican Republic

Photo taken in 1997 on a service trip to the Haitian bateys outside of La Romana, Dominican Republic

When Procter & Gamble (P&G) approached me to highlight their Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program (CSDW), I knew I had to be a part of their mission. I got the chance to talk with Allison Tummon Kamphuis, program leader, who is working in her office and on the ground with organizations like World Vision, CARE, Save the Children, Population Services International, and ChildFund. She’s talked to the mothers and played with the children. It is an important career position, and one that is endlessly satisfying I’m sure, especially when she can celebrate the fact that ten billion liters have been purified for families across the globe as of May 3, 2016.

P&G’s program is only possible because of the partnerships they have and maintain over years of work together. The partners know the areas and how P&G can best distribute the water purification packets. No two places are alike, which makes these partnerships even more valuable.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 663 million people lack access to an improved water source

Image provided by P&G

Image provided by P&G

In the past 11 years P&G has assisted with emergency relief via their purification packets after hurricanes in the Caribbean and Philippines, floods in Cambodia, Thailand and Pakistan, earthquakes in China, Haiti, India and Myanmar, and cholera outbreaks in Africa. Access to clean water saves lives in a crisis, but the partnerships that are taking place every day on the ground are what will make a long lasting, multigenerational difference in the world.

WHO reports that women and children spend 40 billion hours each year collecting water rather than attending school or earning income for their families

Through partnerships, P&G has established local social market distributors across Africa and other nations, but the key component is education. If someone doesn’t understand why water from their river isn’t healthy to drink and why washing their hands is the key to not spreading infection or ingesting parasites, they may not use the packets they are given. The current educational focus is on local schools and health clinics. When children learn they can teach their parents and their own children as they get older. The knowledge is then passed down through the generations.

Ok, so what is this purification packet? Why is it so magical, and is it actually safe? P&G worked with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop a low-cost powdered technology in a packet designed to purify even heavily contaminated water so that it meets the World Health Organization standards for drinking water. It removes parasites, arsenic, metals, pesticides and more. It cannot remove salt from seawater though.

Image provided by P&G

Image provided by P&G

Facts about the P&G Purification packets

  • A packet can clean 10 liters of water
  • Each packet acts as a mini water purification plant
  • The cleaning process takes 30 minutes
  • Each packet provides enough water for a family of 5 for one day
  • No fancy equipment is needed- you only need a bucket, stir stick and a filter cloth (many people use t-shirts or kitchen clothes)
  • Packet provides residual chlorination so that the water will remain usable for about a day
  • Water must be stored in a suitable container to prevent recontamination

In 11 years 10 billion liters of purified drinking water have been provided in more than 75 countries. P&Gs next goal is to provide 15 billion liters of clean water by 2020.

How you can help

P&G delivered its 10 billionth liter of clean drinking water through its non-profit Children’s Safe Drinking Water (CSDW) Program on May 3, 2016. In celebration P&G is offering a 10-1 donation match- something I know I have rarely ever seen (usually you get 1-1 or 2-1 matches). For every $1 donated to the program by you from May 3-May 31, 2016, P&G will donate $10 (US currency) up to a total of $1 million.

Click to DONATE now!

As little as $7.50 provides a year’s worth of clean water to a child and $30 to share a year’s worth of clean water with a family of five. How easy is that? Skip your morning latte (if you grab a mega size you know that costs more than $7.50). Tell your kids you are skipping your Friday night pizza night this week so you can bring clean water to a family for a year.

image courtesy of Procter & Gamble

image provided by P&G

Teaching your children

As a parent I like to remind my children how lucky they are for the little things, but sometimes it comes out a bit too vague for their little minds. Seeing a packet in action can have a huge impact on a child. You can order your own sample packet kit so you can purify water with your children at home, or why not ask your child’s teacher if you can do a demonstration in the classroom. When children see with their eyes what their counterparts across the globe are drinking it has a profound impact. They will remember that they can just turn on their faucet and safely drink, while another child does not. Grab your own sample package now.

Image provided by P&G

Image provided by P&G

Tools for travelers

If you will be hiking or traveling to locations where the water quality is uncertain, you can order 12-packets or even a case (240 packets) to take with you. These are also great to have in your emergency kit at home. A portion of each purchase is donated. Read more here.

Have you donated yet? Donate now!

This post is part of a paid partnership with Procter & Gamble. As always, my opinions and passion for non-profit work being done across the globe are my own. When they aren’t you will be the first to know.

Featured Image Credit: Indian Women Carry Water via Glass and Nature/

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  • Mom

    Thank you so much for sharing this important campaign. As a decades-long supporter of World Vision’s community development efforts, I’m excited to hear that P&G is partnering with them. As a holder of some P&G stocks in my retirement portfolio, I am thrilled to hear about this initiative. And, as your Mom, well…needless to say I am proud of you for sharing and promoting this campaign. We need to be educated too about the importance of access to clean drinking water.

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