More than a billion people around the world lack access to clean water.
We respond to this need in a number of ways. First, we work alongside communities in watershed restoration efforts, starting with reforestation and soil conservation. As trees disappear, eroding topsoil pollutes water resources, and the soil loses its ability to retain water, causing streams to dry up. Tree roots act as a sponge, allowing water to soak into the ground so that springs, rivers, and streams begin to flow at healthier rates. By working to reduce the rate of erosion, communities are also protecting their water sources from pollution. What’s more, trees serve as natural water filters, so reforestation efforts help to reduce the impacts of water-related illnesses.
In addition, we work with communities and families to build large-scale rainwater cisterns. These cisterns address one of the biggest challenges to families living high in the mountains or drought-prone areas: year-round water access for household use and farming. The cisterns also reduce the amount of time women and children have to spend walking for water, which provides more time for children’s education and other productive work. Finally, ecological latrines also reduce groundwater contaminants and increase sanitation and hygiene.