Five thousand children under five die everyday, or one every 17 seconds, from diarrhea alone. That's more than the toll on children under fourteen from HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. (UNESCO report released at the World Water Forum 2009)
And so is the focus at this year's World Water Forum (March 16-22) hosted by Istanbul, Turkey, the fifth such forum to bring global players together with the goal of putting water on the international agenda. Among those attending is Jon Sawyer, Pulitzer Center Executive Director. Sawyer is attending with Media21 Global Journalism Network Geneva, a "group designed to enhance broader public awareness of issues through better coverage worldwide, and more effective interaction between the media and important information resources." With him are two Pulitzer grantees: Nairobi-based journalist Ernest Waititu and Common Language Project journalist Alex Stonehill (both contributors to the Water Wars reporting project, which focused on East Africa). After the World Water Forum, the journalists traveling with Media21 continue on for a week of reporting. Waititu and Stonehill are headed to India and Sawyer to Ethiopia for one-week reporting field trips.
In addition to blogging from the conference and his field trip in Ethiopia, Sawyer is collecting short interviews with leading experts, advocates and those affected by issues related to water, sanitation and climate change. Today, Sawyer's blog entry was featured at the St. Louis Beacon's online publication as an Editor's Pick.
All video captured is being uploaded to Pulitzer Center's Water Wars Gateway, a web portal designed by Dan McCarey, featuring work by Pulitzer grantees, the Common Language Project reporting team, on water issues of sanitation, access, scarcity, and resource management. Over 1,400 individuals have contributed to the global discussion happening now at the Water Wars Pulitzer Gateway.
Correction: The original post incorrectly stated that the total deaths from water and sanitation related disease is "more than the toll from HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined." The statement is true only for children under 14, not adults (see Safer Water, Better Health (WHO) and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria). Corrections were made August 27, 2010.