Transform the lives of women and children with clean water

Today, your gift of $85, $170 or $425 will help provide water and maternal, newborn and child health training in a village as well as transform the lives of men, women and children.

A deep-capped well costs $8,500 and supports an average of 1,000 people. Let’s start making a difference right now. 

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Natacha's Story

Natacha was at a crossroads. Should she marry the man she loved even though he lived in the water-deprived village of Anoum?

Choosing to live in Anoum, Benin, in West Africa was not a decision women from other villages would take lightly. 

Traditionally tasked with providing water for their families, young girls and women around the world walk long distances, often spending up to six hours each day collecting water.1

During the dry season, water shortages meant waking up at 3 a.m. The water they found, a polluted river or trench, was usually noisy and crowded, surrounded by people from nearby villages who also brought their livestock to drink. The journey would be an arduous and sometimes dangerous one, and they would have to do it every day for the rest of their lives.

Natacha shook her head. No, she thought. It would be a hard and stressful life. If we had children, they would be sick all the time from the water. I would become bitter and would grow to resent my husband.

No, I can’t marry him.

These were the thoughts many women like Natacha had about the village of Anoum two years ago.

While Canadians don’t have to think twice about where to get their water or how it will affect the course of their lives, villagers in Anoum obsessed over it. When you don’t have a reliable source of clean water, you think about it all day. It means everything to your livelihood and to the survival of your family.

But today, you wouldn’t recognize Anoum.

When we provided a well, it transformed the village and its people. 

With easily-accessible clean water that is available year-round, women and children are no longer burdened with finding water. The well has eliminated their fears of being attacked on a long journey, returning home with an empty bucket or developing waterborne diseases.

Clean water also means they can take care of their health by bathing regularly and practicing better hygiene.

With more time available, women are able to pursue projects to improve their community and the lives of their families. And children are able to continue with their studies since reducing the time spent collecting water means an increase in school attendance.2 Returning to school lets children be children as they get together to study, play and pursue their ambitions for the future.

Clean water changed everything in Anoum, but there are other villages that still need our help. And, for a limited time, we’ve been given a unique opportunity to do even more.

Global Affairs Canada is partnering with us on a four-year project designed to improve maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) by increasing access to clean water, providing training in healthy practices and gender sensitivity and by encouraging better nutrition for mothers, pregnant women, newborns and children under the age of five in Benin and Togo, West Africa.

By contributing to this project, you will help improve access to safe water for approximately 1,000 people per well. Villages will also receive education and training on well maintenance, hygiene and sanitation. Local health teams will be formed and will educate villagers on topics such as gender issues, maternal health, disease prevention, basic nutrition and treating symptoms such as diarrhea.

Your gift will also contribute to the training of health clinic workers in the remote areas of Benin and Togo, who often unknowingly use harmful traditional practices to treat women and children. By updating the skills of clinic workers on safe and effective maternal, newborn and child health practices, we can help them provide quality health care and save the lives of mothers and their children. In Benin, the probability that a woman will die during and following pregnancy and childbirth is 1 in 51. In Togo, it’s 1 in 58. In Canada, 1 in 8,800.3

“As Christians, we understand that our faith is proved by good works and the wells we provide are proof of our faith,” says Dr. Takpara, a medical doctor who works in Anoum through a partnership with us.

“In this area, people are predominately followers of other religions and if I came to this village without anything, but tell them that God loves them, it is difficult for them to listen to me when they have great needs.

“But when I show God’s love practically by providing clean water (with the help of GAiN), then people understand and are willing to listen.”

Access to clean water changed the village of Anoum and it can drastically improve the livelihood and spiritual welfare for many others. But we can’t do this alone.

Today, your gift of $85, $170 or $425 will help provide water and maternal, newborn and child health training in a village as well as transform the lives of men, women and children.

A deep-capped well costs $8,500 and supports an average of 1,000 people. Let’s start making a difference right now. Please make your gift today.

Clean water saves lives. Thank you for partnering with us as we demonstrate God’s love in word and deed.

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1 Source: UN Water. (2013). UN-Water factsheet on water and gender, World Water Day 2013.
2 Source: 1. Nauges, Celine and Jon Strand. (2011). Water Hauling and Girls’ School Attendance: Some New Evidence from Ghana. 2. Koolwal, Gayatri and Dominique van de Walle (2010). Access to Water, Women’s Work and Child Outcomes.
3 Source: World Health Organization: 2.17 World Development Indicators: Reproductive health