Water, Water Everywhere, Nor Any Drop to Drink

»» Coleridge’s lament from the poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, is a reality for millions of Africans who have access to water but suffer the life-threatening effects of contamination if they drink it. As thirst overrides the risk of illness and even death from diarrhoea, cholera, and respiratory tract infections, to name a few, what should be a source of life has tragically become a leading cause of illness and fatality across the continent.

In one of the most inspiring public health stories of the past decade, Procter & Gamble’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water Programme (CSDW), which promotes the use of water purification sachets, has delivered over 7 billion litres of clean drinking water to the global poor, resulting in over 290 million disease-free days and around 40,000 lives saved. With over 1 billion people lacking access to safe drinking water and an estimated 1.6 million children dying each year, it’s a powerful intervention, particularly for turgid water which, when treated with the product, becomes clear and decontaminated.

Our IT’S AFRICA’S TIME crew visited the Kisumu and Bondo regions along the shores of Lake Victoria in western Kenya to meet local communities, individual change-makers and the invaluable NGO implementing partners, SWAP & Care International, who are ensuring the programme’s success through schools, clinics and women’s groups.

We were privileged to meet the people and film the partnerships that are changing and saving lives.