When you walk for clean water with World Vision’s Global 6K for Water, you help lay a foundation for fighting injustice all around the world.
Here are three ways that access to clean water impacts other social issues.
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If you’re anything like me, the needs of the world can feel paralyzing sometimes. Extreme poverty, human trafficking, lack of education, and other social justice issues break my heart, and figuring out how I can fight for justice in these areas can be overwhelming.
But while we as individuals can’t fight every battle, we can be strategic in our approach.
Whether you’re passionate about combating extreme poverty, supporting anti-trafficking efforts, or empowering education around the world, choosing to support clean water efforts is an advantageous means to help solve those problems. Clean water is inextricably linked to many other social justice issues.
World Vision’s Global 6K for Water is coming up on May 19, and when you sign up to walk or run, you’re throwing a one-two punch at injustice around the world.
Here are a few ways that choosing to run for clean water impacts other social issues:
Water and extreme poverty are inextricably linked. Providing access to consistent sources of clean water is crucial to poverty reduction. Safe drinking water and sanitation increases the percentage of a community’s population that is able to attend school and remain gainfully employed. Water-related diseases are a constant threat to health, keeping people out of the work force and in poverty. The U.N. estimates that sub-Saharan Africa alone loses 200 million hours per day collecting water!
When employees have access to clean water and proper sanitation, employment rates increase and communities have a greater chance of thriving. For women, in particular, access to nearby sources of clean drinking water, toilets and latrines, and education about proper hygiene provides them with the health and the time to attend school or work.
When a community’s children are unable to attend school, it perpetuates the cycle of poverty. An estimated 227 million school days are lost each year from water-related illness. Many children are simply too sick with diarrhea or other preventable water-related diseases to go to school. Children, usually girls, must also help their families retrieve water, excluding them from the opportunity to attend school. Girls are also forced to miss school when there is no latrine to give them a private place to take care of their hygiene needs during menstruation.
In developing countries, girls and women are primarily responsible for retrieving water. On average, they walk 6 kilometers (just under 4 miles) every day, sometimes multiple times a day, to provide water to their families. They must walk far from home, putting them in dangerous situations where they risk assault, abduction, and sale into human trafficking.
Providing clean water to their villages allows girls to cease their daily treks through isolated, dangerous places and thus protects them from becoming the next “missing ones” from their communities.
Fighting to provide clean water is a foundational way to aid many other complex social justice issues that face oppressed and impoverished communities. I hope you will choose to join me on May 19 — anywhere you are in the world! — for this year’s World Vision Global 6K for Water, so that together, we can provide life, health, and justice around the world.
Read more about World Vision’s Global 6K for Water here.
Read more from the World Vision blog here.
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Helping our children develop empathy for others is an important part of parenting. According to Harvard researchers, identifying feelings and talking about what children deal with in other parts of the world can help our kids develop empathy for those in need. Talking also helps our kids gain an appreciation for the privileges we have simply because we live in a developed country. Get tools and ideas for how to talk with your children about the global water crisis and help them develop empathy for those in need.
Explaining the global water crisis to my daughter
Our copy of the World Vision magazine had just arrived in the mail. The cover shows 5-year-old Grace in Uganda fetching water. My 3-year-old daughter, Ruby, looked at the photo and asked, “What is she doing?” We were standing in our newly remodeled kitchen, where Ruby can get her own cup, and walk over to the refrigerator and get filtered water for herself if she’s thirsty. (And then promptly spill it, but that’s beside the point.)
“Well,” I explain, “this little girl is just a couple years older than you and she can’t just walk over to the fridge to get clean water at her house. She has to walk a long way and fill her jug with water from this pond and carry it all the way back to her house. I’ll bet that’s a lot of work.”
“Yeah,” says Ruby.
“That water doesn’t look very clean, does it?” I say. “Would you want to drink that water?”
“No,” she says.
“That water has some bad bugs in it that make her sick. That makes me feel sad,” I say. “I think that makes God feel sad too.”
“I feel sad too,” says Ruby.
“Do you think we should do something to help?” I ask.
“Yeah,” says Ruby.
Getting the global water crisis conversation started
Start by watching this video with your kids, and then ask them a few questions.
- How would life be different for you if we didn’t have safe water to drink right here in our home?
- Can you help me make a list of all the ways we use water throughout the day? (i.e. brushing teeth, bathing, washing dishes, etc.)
- How would you feel if you had to spend hours walking every day to get water for us to use here at home? Imagine having to spend so much time getting water that you didn’t have time to go to school. How would that make you feel?
- What if we didn’t have enough clean water to wash your clothes or give you a bath? Do you think you might get stinky? How would you feel about going to school or church in dirty clothes?
Taking it one step further
Start by watching this 13-minute video together. In it, World Vision writer Kari Costanza walks for water with Sabina in rural Kenya and gains a serious appreciation for clean water after carrying 70 pounds of dirty water back from a river that is miles away.
DIY water walk (easy effort): The average distance women and children in developing countries walk for water is 6 kilometers (about 3.7 miles) a day. Depending on the age of your kids, map out a 6-kilometer walk or find a trail nearby and turn around at 1.82 miles. It’s even better if you can carry a bucket full of water back from the halfway point. And if your kids are preschoolers, take a wagon along on the walk to help carry the water and give little ones a ride if they get too tired.
Global 6K for Water (medium effort): Another great option would be to sign up your family to walk the Global 6K for Water together on May 19. Families around the world will walk or run 6 kilometers to raise awareness about the global water crisis and to help children in communities that need clean water. Some people are adding a challenge to the 6K by carrying a jerry can full of water the whole way. Learn more about the Global 6K.
The post How to talk with your kids about the global water crisis appeared first on World Vision.
Brittany Kukal, 31, of Kirkland, Washington, kneeled down to fill out the form at the sponsorship table at last year’s Global 6K for Water at Gas Works Park in Seattle. She had been on her feet awhile having just finished a 6-kilometer loop and she was, after all, six months pregnant.
“I felt great. I felt empowered,” Brittany says. “I felt encouraged, and I felt like the Lord was really here today. It was wonderful.”
Around the globe, about 844 million people lack access to clean water, and people in the developing world walk an average of 6 kilometers to find water. Oftentimes, it’s women and children who make that walk, lugging heavy cans to bring back water that is likely impure and unsanitary.
A friend told Brittany about the Global 6K for Water last year and encouraged her to sign up. “I gave it a lot of thought, a lot of prayer. And being I’m six months pregnant, I thought it’s a great way to really engage and understand what these women and families go through,” she says.
And it was a way to make giving more personal, “to actually experience the walking and the process just makes it more real for you,” she says. Every $50 Global 6K for Water registration fee will provide clean water for one person.
But walking the 6K wasn’t without some concern, Brittany says; it was her first child and a high-risk pregnancy. But with her doctor’s approval and time spent praying, she moved full-speed ahead, wanting to empathize with mothers’ globally.
As she walked, her race bib featured a boy from Malawi named Innocent. And it was Innocent she sponsored at the table that Saturday morning.
“I think as I bring my baby into the world and being able to provide for him — a lot of kids don’t get that,” she says. “I actually sponsored the kid I walked for today. That really means a lot to me because now we get to continue that relationship.”
Today, you could say that Brittany has two children: Leo, who was born after the Global 6K, is now 8 months old and Innocent in Malawi.
“I wanted to participate for all the right reasons,” she says. “It ended up being really good.”
Leo and Innocent are already linked in some way. “Honestly, I did it for my son,” Brittany says about sponsoring Innocent. “A lot of what I do now is for my son.” She shows Leo pictures of Innocent, and one day she hopes Leo will write to Innocent.
She will raise Leo alongside Innocent — who will open up not only other parts of the world to him but lessons in kindness and encouragement.
“If I can help another child in some way, it’ll set a good example for my son and also it helps me too — to feel more connected and to give me purpose,” she says.
Brittany has signed up to participate again in the Global 6K for Water May 19 at Gas Works Park — this time with little Leo in a stroller.
And she’s excited to be joining together with a group of mothers who are walking the Global 6K together.
We wanted a child for a long time, Brittany says. It changes your world and mindset. You really focus on what matters doing the 6K; it gives you an idea and glimpse into life.
The post Two children brought together by clean water and a mother’s love appeared first on World Vision.
Millions of people in West Africa need your prayers. The region has been struggling with increasingly frequent and severe droughts, political turmoil, and extremist violence as well as refugee crises in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger. Many families have exhausted their traditional means of coping and are cutting back on the number of meals they eat every day.
Without access to basics like water, food, and shelter, growing children may suffer developmental issues that can last a lifetime. Your prayers are urgently needed.
Pray for maternal and child health in Sierra Leone.
In Sierra Leone, 120 of every 1,000 children die before they turn 5 — among the highest rate in the world. About 38 percent of children younger than 5 suffer from stunting — being short for their age due to inadequate nutrition. It’s also risky to be a mom there — about 1,360 women die for every 100,000 births, according to UNICEF.
Dear Lord, restore the health of children suffering from the effects of lack of access to nutritious food and health services. Give strength and determination to people working to improve the health of mothers and pregnant women. Help women deliver their babies safely.
Pray for consistent harvests and stable food markets.
Millions of people in West Africa are affected by increasingly frequent and more severe droughts. Poor harvests lead to high food prices and eventually to food insecurity and malnutrition among children and families who struggle to earn enough to make ends meet. World Vision has provided emergency relief like food vouchers and nutrition training to many communities where sponsored children live.
Lord, You are merciful, and we ask You to bring rain to the parched land. As families across West Africa seek economic and nutritional stability, help them to afford to buy enough food or to store enough of their crops to make it through to the next harvest. Bring stability to markets so children will not go hungry.
Pray for resilience.
In the face of increasingly frequent and worsening severe weather events across the region, fewer families can withstand the resulting economic shocks. They lose their ability to adapt to shocks like grain prices doubling or their crops dying. Countries like Mali and Niger have experienced particularly severe shocks every couple of years since 2005. With little recovery time, millions of families cannot withstand rising food prices and insufficient rains.
Safety-net programs help in the short term, but governments and development organizations are focused on working with communities to help create systemic changes that will help the most vulnerable families become more resilient. Pray for effective collaboration among communities, governments, and development organizations to produce tangible outcomes.
Lord, we acknowledge how difficult solving systemic problems can be. We pray for genuine, patient collaboration among leaders. Give them wisdom to influence decision-makers in business, government, and community circles. Bless the most vulnerable families with opportunities to improve their livelihoods and feed their children.
Pray for vulnerable children.
During droughts, children are more vulnerable to disease. They must walk long distances to find water — making them vulnerable to attacks by wild animals and human predators. When food resources are threatened, families will migrate, hoping for better opportunities elsewhere. And sometimes children must seek work to help support their families. This means children drop out of school or, if they remain in their classes, find it difficult to concentrate on lessons due to hunger.
Lord, we ask that You will be “… a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble” (Psalm 9:9) for the children of West Africa. Protect them from dangers, keep them from disease, and help their families and communities find the resources to feed them so they can thrive. Help girls and boys to stay in school so they will enjoy the full life You have for them.
Pray for World Vision’s child sponsorship communities.
World Vision serves millions of people in sponsorship communities across the region. In some areas, residents have taken in hundreds or thousands of families displaced by violence, drought, or political instability. These communities are severely strained. In places like the Lake Chad Basin, World Vision is helping displaced people and host communities with basic necessities. This not only saves lives but strengthens communities that are bearing a heavy burden.
Lord, we pray that our ministry in sponsorship communities will bear good fruit (Colossians 1:10). We ask Your hand to help us support families and villages hosting refugees, so they themselves can survive along with their guests.
The post Covering the world in prayer: Pray for West Africa appeared first on World Vision.
Ariunaa treasures her sewing machine above anything else.
For the 44-year-old mother of four, living in rural Mongolia challenged her ability to provide for her family. She once lived as a herder, but as the cost of education soared, it forced her to sell her livestock and move in toward the town center.
With few vocational skills, she found herself jobless, but she knew how to sew. She began making clothes at home and selling her creations to friends and neighbors. Her reputation grew.
World Vision took notice of Ariunaa and gave her a prized electric sewing machine.
“The sewing machine made everything easier,” she says. “It’s very fast, so I can make a lot more clothes. It took me a week to make one deel (traditional dress) before, but now I can finish one in two days.”
World Vision also helped her open a small shop, so now she has even more customers. Her revenue has increased, and she can now provide for her family.
“Now I have a stable source of income, so I can afford my kids’ educational needs,” she says.
The lack of economic opportunities is only one issue facing people in Mongolia. Join us this month in praying for the people of Mongolia.
You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.—Psalm 10:17 (NIV)
Pray for economic empowerment.
Mongolia has struggled with inflation and economic hardships over the past decade. In addition to vocational programs like the one Ariunaa benefited from, World Vision provides animals through the Gift Catalog and conducts savings groups to teach people how to save. Erdenetuya wanted to go to college but couldn’t afford to, and later she dreamed her children would, but finances made that dream seem impossible. Now she has learned how to save, and she believes she will be able to support her children’s educational dreams.
Lord, we thank You for your ability to bring hope to people like Erdenetuya and Ariunaa by providing them with better economic opportunities. Continue to help more people earn a better living through better jobs and small business opportunities.
Pray for better child health.
Urana took her 1-year-old daughter, Khishge, to a World Vision health center, where she learned her daughter was malnourished. Through a World Vision nutrition program, Khishge is now on her way to better health.
Great Healer, we thank You for healing Khishge and ask that You continue to bring more children back to good health. Equip World Vision staff to diagnose and treat children, and work in parents’ hearts to take their children to health centers for treatment.
Pray for education and an end to child labor.
Anara, 15, had been selling rice to help support her family for five years. She would earn only $2 to $3 a day, working in the morning and attending school in the afternoon. But when she badly needed money, she skipped class to continue working. Her mother died when she was young, and her father was an alcoholic who didn’t have a job.
About 16 percent of Mongolian children ages 6 to 17 are involved in child labor. World Vision saw Anara’s situation and engaged her father in training. He has started drinking less and is now working so Anara can attend school full time. She’s studying to be a chef and dreams of opening her own restaurant.
Father, we know education is the key to a child’s future. Our hearts break when we see children who must sacrifice studying to work instead. Thank You for intervening in Anara’s life, and we ask that You change people’s hearts so they see the value of children attending school instead of working.
Pray for improved child protection.
After her parents died, 11-year-old Tuul (name changed to protect privacy) lived with different family members, landing with her sister and brother-in-law. But her brother-in-law began sexually abusing her, which continued for five years. Then one of her stepsisters learned of the abuse and called Child Helpline 108, a program World Vision cosponsored to help protect children by allowing people to report abuse. The program has helped resolve hundreds of child protection cases. Tuul is now getting the support she needs to heal and is living with her stepsister.
Almighty God, we know Your Word forbids child abuse. Move through World Vision’s Child Helpline 108 program so more children will be able to escape harmful situations. Encourage people to show bravery and report children who are in harm’s way.
Contributors: Togtokhbayar Dorjpalam and Enkhzul Altangerel, World Vision staff
By Lindsey Posmanick, Events Coordinator and Research Project Associate
Although anti-trafficking efforts by the Department of Defense (DoD) are commendable, the department has close ties to human trafficking that the Strategic Action Plan cannot fix. This year, the DoD’s five-year strategic action plan to end human trafficking will come to a close. It was created by the Combating Trafficking in Persons Program (CTIP) in response to an investigative report of over 300 military and 200 contractor personnel by the Inspector General’s Office from 2009 to 2012. The evaluation determined that the majority of the DoD did not adequately follow the CTIP Guidelines or policy statements. For the past four years, the military has used the Strategic Action Plan to end human trafficking by implementing four main goals: 1) increase partnership with other agencies and foreign governments; 2) strengthen DoD policies; 3) develop a more robust training and outreach program; and 4) streamline enforcement procedures. Will the military be able to claim success in 2018? Not unless it addresses two key flaws within the department: the perception that all human trafficking is sex trafficking and the DoD’s active role in creating the demand for forced labor by contractors within their supply chain.
On December 16th, 2002, former President George W. Bush signed the National Security Presidential Directive 22 (NSPD 22) instructing federal agencies and the DoD, to strengthen their anti-trafficking efforts. In compliance, the U.S. military adopted a zero-tolerance policy. This policy takes a moralist approach that endorses a commonly held misperception: all prostitution is sex trafficking. Therefore, the DoD’s strategies to combat all human trafficking have emphasized that all sex workers need “rescuing” as sex trafficking victims. The DoD approach should not be surprising. The military has a disconcerting history of service members eliciting sexual services in war zones and near military installations. For example, in the 1980s, a brothel near the U.S. Subic Bay Naval Base generated an estimated $500 million and a 2002 report stated that U.S. military personnel frequented bars in South Korea where women from the Philippines, Russia, and Eastern Europe were forced into prostitution.
Not only did the DoD prioritize sex trafficking in the Strategic Goals, but they also focused their efforts on the sexual exploitation of women and children. The gendered language utilized by the DoD reaffirms a skewed perception of a common narrative of human trafficking. A narrow focus on sex trafficking inhibits the military’s ability to properly train and encourage understanding on all forms of trafficking within popular discourse. The view of trafficking as only sexual slavery takes away from impactful anti-trafficking efforts and pushes ineffective anti-trafficking policies. Rather than maintaining a hyper fixation on sex trafficking, the military should use their Strategic Action Plan to address human trafficking within the government contractor supply chain.
Corporate supply chains target vulnerable workers anywhere to fill labor shortages everywhere, including jobs in military combat zones. An understanding of how supply chains operate is vital to understanding how the military overseas creates a demand for forced labor. Although the military does not recruit and enslave persons directly, the DoD is a consumer with buying power that creates a demand for human trafficking. Since the 1990s, they have developed a reliance on the use of outside companies to fulfill their needs for certain services like construction, security, and maintenance. This increase in the use of contractors has had a direct correlation with the influx of labor trafficking in military combat zones.
While the U.S. government may maintain a zero-tolerance policy for all of its contractors, the DoD reflects an attitude that human trafficking is an outside problem, rather than a direct reflection of its internal structure. However, if the DoD reexamines their supply chain purchasing habits, their consumer buying power could lead the world in anti-human trafficking business practices. In a Testimony to Congress, former Ambassador Luis Cdebaca said, “Using governments’ reach as consumer as a tool to combat modern slavery isn’t just about what government can do; it’s also about what they should do.”
If the Strategic Plan is to be considered successful it must first re-examine misperceptions that all prostitution is sex trafficking. It is time to move forward with informed practices and leave behind the outdated moralist crusade of Directive 22. While it is tempting to fall into the “rescue” trope, the DoD’s sharp disconnect between stereotypes of the typical “trafficked victim” the realities of forced labor and migration globally has led to systemic failures in the DoD’s strategic action plan. The DoD needs to employ greater anti-trafficking efforts in their supply chains. One key effort should address the weaknesses within Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), a provision that authorizes the DoD to terminate a contract if the contractor engages in human trafficking. However, the Supplement places sole responsibility on the contractor. For example, the DoD Inspector General identified a sample of 267 contracts, and found that “while 70 percent of the contracts sampled contained some form of a CTIP Clause, only half had the current required DFARS clause.” The Supplement is neither tracked nor enforced. If the DoD plans to claim success for the Strategic Plan, the department must address their lack of oversight and enforce greater preventive efforts that are more than a public relations stunt.
Photo Credit: Flickr
About the Human Trafficking Center
The Human Trafficking Center, housed in the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, is the only two-year, graduate-level, professional-training degree in human trafficking in the United States. One way graduate students contribute to the study of human trafficking is by publishing research-based blogs. The HTC was founded in 2002 to apply sound research and reliable methodology to the field of human trafficking research and advocacy.
Founded in 1964, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies is one of the world’s leading schools for the study of international relations. The School offers degree programs in international affairs and is named in honor of its founder and first dean, Josef Korbel.
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