March 22, 2012
The Voss Foundation invites you to celebrate World Water Day with us this Thursday, March 22nd! Our friends at VOSS Water are kicking off an awareness campaign, 31 Days to Make a Difference, from Water Day to Earth Day, so join in the celebration! The UN designated March 22nd as World Water Day to raise awareness of water issues, and every year it focuses on a different theme, which this year is Water and Food Security. What is water and food security, you may ask? It means, simply, the capacity of a community to ensure continued availability and access to clean water and food, and is something the Voss Foundation is intimately involved in.
The idea of water security may seem abstract and remote, yet it is a real and serious global problem that affects more than 40 percent of the world population. Today, 1.6 billion people live in areas with absolute water scarcity (including Sub-Saharan Africa), and by 2025 as much as two-thirds of the world population could be facing water stressed conditions (UN WWD FAQs). As the UN proclaims, the world is thirsty because it is hungry.
Drought is the number one cause of food shortages in developing countries, and has caused more deaths in the past 100 years than any other natural disaster, primarily in Africa and Asia. Since water is used in food production as well as for drinking, poor water management can lead to famine. We need to drink an average of 2.5 liters of water a day, but the amount of water needed to produce food for one person for one day ranges from 2,000 to 5,000 liters! (UN WWD FAQs) So when a community does not have reliable access to water, their food situation is insecure as well. View this animation from our friends at UN Water to better understand the links between water and food.
Through the Voss Foundation’s water projects, communities in Sub-Saharan Africa are able to establish and maintain water security, which leads to food security through improved irrigation and agriculture. They are able to take ownership of their own future, for the ripple effect of water leads to better nutrition, increased incomes, and more time spent in school. The Voss Foundation and partners on the ground evaluate each potential project to meet the water requirements of a community and ensure long-term sustainability by taking advantage of the most appropriate and efficient technology available.
Water is not the only resource that should be better managed for the best results. Women, also, are a resource! In developing countries, they provide the majority of agricultural labor, yet they often have unequal access to services and other inputs, such as water or fertilizer. If women had equal access, they could increase yields by 20-30 percent, lifting 150 million people out of hunger (UN WWD Brochure). The Voss Foundation is doing its part by increasing women’s access to water: one of the wells we built in Pel, Mali, irrigates a garden owned by a local women’s cooperative, helping them grow healthy produce and effectively double their income. And the first well we built in the Democratic Republic of the Congo provides water to the Georges Malaika School for Girls—as well as to the garden where healthful food is grown for the girls to eat! Also, on each one of our projects, we make sure 50 percent of the water management committee membership is female, thereby increasing women’s political power as well as economic impact.
Please join the Voss Foundation and VOSS Water in celebration of World Water Day by helping us raise awareness to increase access to water through our community projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. See how you can help communities create an engine for growth with VOSS Water’s 31 Days to Make a Difference campaign: every action makes a difference, from a “Like” on Facebook to a RT on Twitter, to a gift of water or a trip to our African Bazaar! We thank you for your continued support, and wish you a Happy World Water Day, from your friends at the Voss Foundation!