Published June 19, 2009
Nine-year-old Ely Kleinsmith knows that water and sanitation are issues that affect us all -- and that it's up to each of us to insure that everyone in the world has access to these resources that too many of us take for granted. What Ely has done, in his hometown of Solon, Iowa, is to found a Water Club aimed at raising awareness, and attract funding, for water-related programs in Haiti.
When it comes to global challenges that touch every human, there's nothing like water and sanitation. This is an issue that engages everyone of us, like no other, and everyone has a distinctive story to tell. As a part of the Pulitzer Center's ongoing water reporting we've been encouraging people to share their stories. More than a dozen have done so this week, joining the global conversation at our Water Wars interactive portal.
It's a great opportunity to expose people around the world to water-related problems in your area and to learn how this precious resource is treated across the globe -- especially now, with Congress debating the Paul Simon Water for the World Act that would greatly expand the dollars available to assure access to clean water and sanitation.
One of the newly posted videos, by Pulitzer Center journalist Bill Wheeler, shows the impact in Nepal of an eighth month long drought. As the monsoon season approaches, Wheeler shows how the people of Nepal ritualistically prepare for the rainy months, parading for hours the monolithic figure of a rain god with the hopes of receiving more rainfall.
Global Water Challenge just posted four videos that illustrate the different obstacles people face with respect to water. In Guatemala, many rural schools lack access to clean water. The children who attend these schools are unable to use hygienic restroom facilities and that affects their learning environment.
Water Advocates, a Washington-DC based non-profit, is working hard to support passage of the Water For the World Act. Part of its effort is encouraging people to join a petition campaign coordinated by www.one.org aimed at encouraging the Senate to act on the bill; as of Friday over 79,000 individuals have signed their name.
To learn just how severe the global water situation is, take a look at WaterAid's website. Wateraid explains just how far reaching the international water problem is, and shows how WaterAid is working to solve this issue.
Water For People is an organization that is trying to teach communities around the world best practices for sustainable water access and sanitation. One of its major goals: improving the lives of women in underdeveloped communities. Because its women who are traditionally required to do the work of fetching water, they are often unable to receive an education -- and as a result make up two thirds of the world's illiterate people.
Water For People has posted several additional videos. To see their work on appropriate sanitation technology, public health, organizational goals, and the importance of water in different cultures, please head to our "Your Stories" page. You can also see all of the other videos relating to water, comments and questions from around the globe -- and, not least, the great reporting projects by Pulitzer Center journalists from Africa, south Asia, and China.