On Wednesday we were at Machakos to witness P&G launch it’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water Programme, and during the launch a number of stats and figures were thrown our way. One such stat was that some 17.3 million Kenyans can only afford to drink dirty water – water that is as dirty as water in the image shown below. The main reason 17.3 million Kenyans are drinking dirty water is because they are poor. The second main reason is because they are living poorly – I hope that makes sense.
Other statistics that were mentioned include the fact that of all sickness cases that end up in hospitals, 50% of them are related to drinking dirty water. Drinking dirty water and general hygiene also is at number three on the leading causes of deaths globally. Drinking dirty water causes the death of some 340,000 children below the age of 5 worldwide annually, and 3,100 of these kids are Kenyans. .
The seventh goal in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals is to ensure that the global population (around 1 billion by the time of formulating the goals) that do not have access to clean water are halved by 2015. Today (one year after the deadline), there are some 663 million people worldwide who still do not have access to clean drinking water. From the 663 million people, some 1000 of them die daily because of drinking dirty water or succumbing to water borne diseases.
These sad statistics prompted Proctor and Gamble to do something to alleviate the suffering of those who continue to succumb to sickness as a result of drinking dirty water. In partnership with 75 organizations, P&G initiated its Children’s Safe Drinking Water Programme in 2004, and has since witnessed some 10 billion litres of clean water consumed by tens of thousands of households in 150 countries. In Kenya, P&G has enabled millions of Kenyans to have access to clean drinking water in Regions such as Siaya County, Eastern Region and the South Coast.
P&G is not helping the 17.3 million Kenyans have access to drinking water by constructing municipal water treatment and distribution systems, but by ensuring that the available dirty brown water is purified to crystal clear microbe free water that is suitable for consumption within thirty minutes. The approach P&G has taken is to distribute a packet of water purifier to schools and households in selected areas. One packet of the P&G Water Purifier weighs 4 grams and is sufficient to purify 10 litres of water that is enough for a family of five for a day. The water that the P&G Water Purifier makes clean is the type of water shown in the image below.
When the 4 grams P&G Water Purifier is added to 10 litres of the dirty water, stirred for 5 minutes, then left to settle for 5 minutes, the Water Purifier does two things: 1. It traps the solid suspended particles that makes the water brownish and settles them at the bottom of the container. 2. The chlorine component kills the bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms – making the cleaned water be safe for drinking. The water that has been purified through the above process will then look like this.
To facilitate access to clean water in Kenya, P&G has invested over shs 500 million, and with this investment and investments in other parts of the world P&G targets to provide another 5 billion litres of clean water to those without access to clean water in the next 4 hours. In Kenya, P&G plans to run the various Children’s Safe Water Project in various parts of the country until 2018.