For those of us with access to clean water, the problems associated with the use of dirty filthy water may sound like war in Syrian or Al-Shabaab attacks in Mandera – very distant and far off. After all, we are not part of the 40% of Kenyans like Mary Onyango who must walk for at least 40 minutes every day to get that 20 litres of dirty filthy water fetched from a swamp, a drying river, or if lucky a lake. The problems faced by the likes of Mary Onyango may be unrelatable to most of us, but they are not lost to P&G.
P&G has in the last 11 years or so taken steps to make sure that at least every Kenyan get access to clean drinking water. In doing so, the multinational company in partnership with NGOs, Government Institutions and others has been able to purify at least 1 billion litres of water across the country. Last year alone, P&G spent some Kshs 50 million in expanding distribution of their water purifier sachets in Kenya alone.
The spending P&G does in ensuring availability of clean water in many households across the country targets to deal with three critical problems caused by use of dirty filthy water; and these are poor education, slow business, and waterborne diseases.
The way unavailability of clean water contributes to poor education has been explained by Veronika Petra, an Indonesian girl who by the time of shooting the documentary linked to above was 18 years old. According to Veronika, she doesn’t get any ranking in class since she doesn’t have the time to study after school. This is because she has to spend more than two hours every day to go fetch firewood from a forest miles away from home. This firewood, she says, is used mainly for boiling drinking water.
There are many boys and girls like Veronika here in Kenya who are forced to compromise studying so as to fetch water and firewood needed to boil that water. Instead of spending their out of school hours to do their homeworks, read a little, or even play with their peers, these children must walk for kilometers on end looking for that drop of water or two sticks of firewood, and by they time they get either or both of these life’s essentials, they become so tired to do any other thing apart from eating and sleeping.
Antonia Karina Ramirez Negrete is a 28 year old mother of two and a business woman in Mexico. Her business however is that of selling vegetables and fruits that require washing using lots of clean water, water that is not available. According to her, she has to walk for 40 minutes before getting to the water point hence walk another 40 minutes or more to come back with the water. The time she spends fetching for water, she says, slows down her business a lot.
Back home in Migori we meet Mary Onyango, a mother of two and probably already a mother of three. According to her, the most pressing problem are the waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and malaria that she must deal due to lack of proper sanitation and clean drinking water. She also experiences the hardship of fetching water from a distant far just like Veronika of Indonesia and Antonia of Mexico.
The P&G Solutions to the three Problems
P&G knows that Veronika, Antonia and Mary may not be able to get piped treated municipal water any time soon. P&G also knows that if these women continue to use dirty filthy water, then their quality of life remain deteriorated and always at adverse risk of contracting serious waterborne diseases. As an immediate solution, P&G has opted to distribute to them and their neighbors sachets of P&G water purifier that does two things, cleans up the water from physical dirt and colour, and kills the germs too that would cause the dreaded waterborne diseases.
In May 2016, the team at Kachwanya.com was among bloggers and media houses who visited a village in Machakos to witness how P&G water purifier sachets transform dirty filthy water into clean crystal clear germ free water. The process through which the sachets purifies the water can followed from this article.