The difference of clean water

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Globally, 785 million people lack access to safe water.

The burden of collecting water falls mainly on women and children, especially girls. Their days revolve around gathering enough to cook, clean, bathe – and of course, drink. They walk an average of six kilometres for water every day. Some walk much farther, while others – like those in communities supported by World Vision – walk far less.

You can help World Vision improve access to clean water in more communities.

Compare two five-year-olds’ walk for water

Meet Cheru and Kamama. They both live in rural Kenya, just 16 miles apart. For one, fetching water is a three-hour struggle; for the other, it’s a seven-minute stroll.

Their different walks to water mean they’re already on different paths in life.

Cheru’s walk for dirty water

  • AGE: Five
  • LOCATION: Kenya
  • DISTANCE TO WATER: 6.88 kilometre return trip
  • TIME PER TRIP: 3 hours, 32 minutes

Cheru’s water source is a distant riverbed. She digs in the sand for water to fill her tin kettle, competing for space with goats, cows and camels.


Dirty water often makes Cheru sick.

Waterborne diseases like diarrhoea and cholera are rife in Cheru’s community. Her family also doesn’t have enough water for their daily sanitation and hygiene needs.


Cheru eats just one meal a day.

If only they had water, families like hers would have more time to grow vegetables and earn incomes.


Collecting water drains Cheru’s energy before school.

In the dry season, digging for water can take so long that Cheru doesn’t make it to school at all.


Cheru’s walk for water limits her potential.

Even at her young age, Cheru’s life is consumed with finding water. It shapes every day. It’s stopping her from living life in all its fullness.

Kamama’s walk to clean water

  • AGE: Five
  • LOCATION: Kenya
  • DISTANCE TO WATER: 0.23 kilometre return trip
  • TIME PER TRIP: 6 minutes, 49 seconds

Kamama’s water source is a nearby tap. In 2015, World Vision worked with her community to pipe clean water from a mountain spring, reaching 880 households as well as schools and a health centre.


Clean water keeps Kamama healthy and clean.

Not only does she have clean water to drink, her community also has water for toilets, baths and handwashing.


Kamama eats nutritious food at home and at school.

Kamama’s mother Julia has time and water for farming. At school, Kamama and her friends grow vegetables in their demonstration garden.


Every day, Kamama goes to class full of energy.

She gets to school early, ready to concentrate and learn. She’s making the most of the opportunity for education.


Kamama’s life is full of choices.

Because she has clean water, she’s free to play, study, laugh and dream about her future. She has the chance to fulfil the potential we’re all born with.

When clean water came to Kamama’s community, it created a cascade of improvements: better health and sanitation, better nutrition and more kids in school. “Water has changed everything for the better,” says Samuel, the local health worker. For Cheru’s family, they can hardly imagine the good life they could have if not for the daily struggle for water.


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