We recently celebrated reaching a major MDG target: 89 percent of the world’s population now enjoys access to ample clean water. It’s definitely something to cheer for, especially since today, March 22, is World Water Day.
But even though we’ve made great progress, the fight is far from over. UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report this month that reveals some startling details. The optimistic global figures mask the fact that nearly 40 percent of people living in sub-Saharan Africa remain thirsty. And despite the reality that water and sanitation go hand in hand, the MDG target we’ve met only addresses water. An estimated 2.5 million people are still without adequate sanitation programs. The issue isn’t a glamorous one — toilets, anyone? — but it’s just as important as water in a drinking glass. In fact, diarrhea is the second biggest killer of kids worldwide.
So keep reveling in the MDG accomplishment — but don’t forget that we need to make more parties in the future. To ensure that we can celebrate more saved lives, take part in these actions from our favorite nonprofits today to keep the momentum going. From sending a World Water Day e-card to walking for water, there’s something for everyone:
1. Show you care through social media. We dedicated our ONE Act this week to Water.org’s “Donate Your Voice” action, which asks that you donate your Facebook status or Twitter feed to World Water Day to spread the word about the importance of water.
2. Get your school (or your kids’ school) involved. With charity:water’s “Water for Schools” campaign, kids can help others just like themselves get access to clean water. It’s a great way for little ones to learn more, contribute and bring global issues close to home.
3. Dive deeper into water issues. Check out the UNICEF and WHO report that came out just this month. It’s a fresh take on this year’s challenges and what we can do to conquer them. WASHfunders.org has summarized a few of the key points and condensed them into Twitter-friendly format for your tweeting convenience.
4. Bring water issues right to a friend’s inbox. Water for People, a nonprofit based in Denver, has a stack of water-themed e-cards that you send directly to your activist friend of choice. You can even send one to multiple friends at once, so there’s no excuse!
5. Get moving — literally. Through March 25, thousands of people from around the world will participate in World Walks for Water and Sanitation. The campaign aims to ease the long and treacherous treks that billions of people make everyday for the resource we enjoy from the kitchen faucet. Lay the pressure on thick by strapping on your sneakers and joining in.
What are you doing this World Water Day to bring water to the table? Tell us in the comments below.