Addressing The Global Water Crisis Through Social Enterprise
Now more than ever due to climate change the global water crisis has become an increasingly imminent issue as it only further continues to impact global health, food security, and forced migration. Whether you live in an area that is currently visually witnessing the effects of the global water crisis, or are still fortunate enough to not have it affect you personally YET, the global water crisis is one of the most important issues of our time, and one that will impact the health and prosperity of every single person and nation on this planet.
After working in food and water security throughout Central America and the Middle East it became clear to me quite quickly that water is the thread the connects virtually every global health issue and in order to create true change, it will take many players working together for the greater good.
How Do We Impact The global Water Crisis
The best progress and program are those which work to empower individuals to create change within their own communities. While the global water crisis may seem like a large and daunting issue (which it somewhat is), the most impactful change most often happens at the local level, where impact can be felt immediately.
This support could happen through educational programs, technical training, communications initiatives, and micro-finance loans, which all should focus on supporting in-country initiatives that empower the people on the ground to take control of their own environment. While humanitarian organizations and non-profits have their place, often the reliance on aid becomes a never ending cycle which is just not sustainable, which is why social enterprises are en excellent solution to help impact global issues like the global water crisis through empowerment based solutions and social impact programs that can work in partnership with local communities and NGOs to create sustainable opportunity and help eliminate the need for aid once and for all.
The global water crisis is going to take ALL global players, including for-profit businesses to step-up and join the conversation if innovation and sustainable change is going to be possible.
how social enterprises can use their business for good
A social enterprise really is any organization that has a strong social impact driven purpose at the root of its mission. This could be a law agency, a food company, a textile company, a tech company, a financial institution, etc.
The best part of social enterprises is that they have the capacity to both educate and impact consumers, while also impacting the entire supply chain. While it may not be easy to ensure the ethical and environmental standards are upheld throughout an entire global supply chain, it is possible, and so many companies are proving that business can truly be used as a source for good.
what is the global water crisis
Let's talk about some stats shall we? Today 1.8 billion people only have access to a source of drinking water that has been contaminated, putting them at risk for life-threatening diseases such as cholera, dysentery, and typhoid.
For reference that is about one-quarter of the entire world population.
Another 2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services such as toilets and latrines.
When we are talking about the water crisis we are equally talking about sanitation because issues associated with sanitation are directly impacting and contaminating the water supply of many communities in need.
In 2015 the Sustainable Development Goals included a target to work towards enabling that everyone has access to safe water by 2030.
Because the reality is that a water crisis is also a health crisis, making water a key part in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty.
Women are disproportionately affected by the water crisis, as women are the ones who are primarily responsible for collecting and storing water for their families.
Many women around the world spend up to eight hours per day collecting water. This takes time away from education and work, which in many ways is a significant part of what keeps women in the cycle of poverty and inequality in the developing world.
what you can do to help
Like always, information like this can only go so far if you don't know what tangible ways you can help on a day-to-day basis. Since most likely your job doesn't entail working towards ending the global water crisis, here are some of my favorite ways that you personally can help positively impact this issue, as little or as much as you feel possible.
This is an obvious one, but my best advise when it comes to donating is to choose one or two organizations every year that you really really believe in and choose to support them. A few of my favorite organizations who are working to address issues associated with clean water, some of whom I have worked for are:
The Malawi Children's Mission - I personally worked with this organization and literally every dollar possible is going to these kids!
Healing Waters - One of my favorite non-profits out there with an incredible team behind them!
Charity Water - They are funded 100% by private donors which helps bring 100% of your donations to people in need of clean water, and clean water programs.
host an event/share information
But what if you are someone who already gives to other charities you believe in and doesn't feel that you can give anymore, or maybe you don't have the capacity to give this year. What can you do? Honestly one of the best things you can do is just talk to people about this issue. Share some
Some fun ideas could be:
Host a dinner party dedicated to spreading awareness about the global water crisis. Maybe print out some statistics to post around your home where people will be getting drinks or food, or in the bathroom! Ask everyone if they could contribute anything they feel they can to the night...maybe its money you can then donate to a charity, or maybe its just them telling other people about the night and replicating it. This impact truly could be huge...okay now I want to host one...who wants to come?
Host a documentary watching night, where you and some friends/family all decide to watch a documentary together and then talk about it after. Some great documentaries on water are: Thirst, and Flow are both great options
support social impact driven businesses
Each and every person is a consumer in one way or another. Either a consumer of food, water, clothes, home decor...you name it we pay for it and bring it into our homes/lives/bodies meaning we consume it. This is why consumers have so much power to use there consumption practices for good, and to choose to support one business over another because of the social impact they are working to make.
All of these companies below would be amazing companies to support when it comes to helping addressing the global water crisis, as through your support they can work to continue to expand their efforts working with local communities where change is possible with a little support and empowerment.