Empower Women with Water

Water-Org Hero Image {Benjamin Heath - Water.org}Photo by Benjamin Heath for Water.org

The Little Market was founded with a mission of empowering women in marginalized communities around the world. Many of the female artisans we work with face socioeconomic issues, and every purchase at The Little Market translates into sustainable income for these female artisans. Several of our artisan partners are located in places where access to clean water is difficult. For instance, in South Africa, women collectively walk the same distance of 16 times to the moon and back each day to access essential water for their families, according to UNWater.org. We recognize the challenges they face, which is why we appreciate the important work being done at Water.org. Today is World Water Day, and it’s an opportunity to raise awareness about access to clean water around the world. Below, our colleagues at Water.org share the stories of two inspiring women.

This article was written by Moree Scofield, Community Manager at Water.org. 

Around the globe, women are primarily responsible for providing water for their families. Tasked with this critical role, they face an impossible choice: certain death without water or possible death from illness due to dirty water. Women and girls often spend up to six hours each day collecting water. This takes time away from school, work, and caring for family.

Empowering women is crucial to solving the global water crisis. This is why Water.org empowers women to get safe water and sanitation by helping them access affordable financing. Water.org created WaterCredit to do this. We enable access to small, affordable loans that in turn, enable the poor to install household water connections and toilets in their homes. To date, we have disbursed more than one million loans, and 93 percent of the borrowers are women.  

That’s right —  93 percent of the borrowers are women. We have found that, if given a choice, women find value in financing a loan in order to get water into their homes immediately. They no longer have to spend hours of their day walking to collect water, and instead, can work and earn income. Swapping what felt like wasted time for productive, income-generating days, women are not only earning the funds needed to repay their loans, but now they contribute to their family’s livelihood and future.

Two strong women, Edita and Sabina, shared their stories in honor of World Water Day.

Edita-2 {Benjamin Heath - Water.org}Photo by Benjamin Heath for Water.org

This is Edita. Upon meeting her, one will discover the quiet confidence that drove her to bring her family to a place where they could access both good schools and running water. Edita and her husband started their family in a small village deep in the Andes Mountains. Each day held the need for long walks for water and laborious domestic chores. There were no schools. Edita believed, somewhere, a better life awaited her family.

With hope and determination, Edita and her husband moved their family to a poor, yet developing community that offered schools and running water. So close to achieving what they wanted for their new life, next was to find a way to establish a water connection in their home. They didn’t have to look far.

Water.org’s work around the world includes removing the financial barriers that separate the poor in Peru from accessing the municipal water lines running just under their feet. Through WaterCredit, families can access small loans that enable them to install household water connections and toilets. Goal in reach, it was only a few short weeks before Edita turned the knob on her very own tap.

Sabina-1 {Benjamin Heath - Water.org}Photo by Benjamin Heath for Water.org

We met a woman of similar strength and ambition in Kenya. This is Sabina. Sabina is a single mom and full-time farmer. She approaches her days with bold wisdom, keen resourcefulness, and a dedication to hard work.

Days always started early for Sabina, with a long walk to collect water needed for her home. Usually from a distant, unsafe source there were a few occasions on which Sabina purchased water from a vendor. She valued the time saved by purchasing water, but for her it was financially unfeasible to do this regularly. Two long rainy seasons benefit Sabina’s crops; however, it wasn’t until recently that she could take advantage of the abundant precipitation.

We made possible in Kenya what, to a resourceful woman like Sabina, seemed an ideal solution. Through WaterCredit, Sabina could finance a rain catchment system. During and after the rains, Sabina can store enough water for her home and crops. This frees her from time spent on collecting water. And, her well-fed plants earn her money, some of which she used to repay her loan.

This World Water Day, you can empower women like Edita and Sabina. Visit WaterDay.org and learn how you can empower more women to change their world.

Credits

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