Access to Clean Drinking Water: Solutions from GFA World
For the 1.1 billion people who lack access to clean drinking water, solutions can be lifechanging. The deprivation of this essential liquid impacts people’s everyday lives and can cause frequent sickness, even death.
Waterborne diseases include diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. In developing countries, such as those in Asia and Africa where GFA World serves, 80 percent of illnesses are linked to unclean water and poor sanitation.1 Diarrheal diseases claim the lives of 1.8 million people, mostly children under the age of 5, every year.2 Frequent sickness also affects adults’ ability to provide for their families and children’s ability to gain an education.
Water is essential to life. Humans can’t survive without it. The quest for water compels women and girls to trek hours each day to collect water for their family’s daily needs. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, they collectively spend 40 billion hours per year collecting water.3 Yet, frequently, the water they collect from sources such as ponds or rivers is contaminated.
Through GFA World’s clean water initiatives, 38 million men, women and children have gained access to clean water, free from disease. As a result, lives—and even communities—have been transformed.
GFA World’s Jesus Wells provide clean water for an entire village. It is freely offered to all, regardless of religious or social background. One Jesus Well, on average, can serve 300 people every day for two decades or more. Whereas other sources may dry up, Jesus Wells are dug deep below the surface to ensure water year-round.
One Jesus Well dramatically changed life for Ragnar and his village.4
Previously, Ragnar’s family of six and his entire community had struggled to obtain clean water. Neighbors fought over what was available, but the water was polluted. Ragnar’s children, among others, battled frequent sickness that caused them to miss school and struggle in their studies. Ragnar wanted better for his children, he wanted them to be well and excel, but there was little he could do.
Then Ragnar encountered a local GFA missionary, who learned of the community’s plight. The missionary compassionately responded to the need, and soon a Jesus Well was installed in the village. Neighbors no longer fought over water. Children were no longer subject to diseases easily prevented with pure water. People’s overall health, and their lives, dramatically improved.
In some developing areas, people have access to water but need some way to purify it before it is safe to drink. For this scenario, GFA World provides BioSand water filters. Removing 98 percent of biological impurities, these filters enable families to drink water free of disease, eliminating constant sickness and greatly improving their health.
A BioSand water filter enabled Vatya to taste pure water for the first time in his life.5
He had grown up drinking polluted water, not realizing it was full of disease. While the wealthy could purchase clean water, that wasn’t an option for his impoverished family. Poor families like his suffered from rotten teeth and stomachaches caused by dirty water.
Then Vatya’s family received a BioSand water filter. Their first taste of clean water brought surprise and delight. The gift impacted Vatya so much he helped the local church organize another distribution so more families could experience the health benefits of clean water.
1 “10 Ways Access to Clean Water Can Improve the World.” Ohio University. https://onlinemasters.ohio.edu/blog/access-to-clean-water/. March 2, 2021.
2 “Water Supply & Sanitation.” World Water Council. https://www.worldwatercouncil.org/en/water-supply-sanitation. Accessed November 22, 2021.
3 Odonkor, Alexander Ayertey. “Water crisis in Africa: Scarcity amidst abundance.” https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-10-19/Water-crisis-in-Africa-Scarcity-amidst-abundance-UGMXwgwhkA/index.html. October 19, 2020.
4 “A Family’s Fight Against Contaminated Water.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/news/articles/a-familys-fight-against-contaminated-water-wfr21-03/. February 2021.
5 “Pure Water from a Cement Block.” GFA World. https://gospelforasia-reports.org/2015/09/pure-water-from-a-cement-block/. September 28, 2015.