World Water Day is a United Nation’s initiative to collectively take action to tackle the water crisis we face today. On March 22, the spotlight is shone on the 663 million people who are living without a safe water supply close to home and who are coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water.

world water day

A local organisation that addresses this issue daily is the Calgary-based Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology, or CAWST. The organisation teaches people how to get safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in their own homes, using simple, affordable technologies. Their vision is a world where people have the opportunity to succeed because their basic water and sanitation needs are met.

Last year, alongside CAWST and other non-profit organisations, we took part in Project SHINE which saw our team members visit a Maasai tribe in Tanzania to introduce the art of soap making to the community. Soap is a rare commodity in the region and is often cheaply made, with harmful chemicals, so the goal of the project was to introduce self-sustaining methods of sanitation and disease control with the community.

soap making with aloePhoto Credit: Godwin Saningo Olemshumba and Sheri Bastien

Project SHINE was a resounding success. Not only was the soap making process passed on to increased sanitation and hygiene, but the villagers now have the capacity to make soap as a business venture to sell it to local safari lodges or barter for goods.

soap making in TanzaniaPhoto Credit: Godwin Saningo Olemshumba and Sheri Bastien

In the words of Guy Rider, Chair of UN-Water, on the power of individuals to change the world, “Do what you can, do it with others, and do it with passion”.


Get involved this World Water Day

Originally published March 14, 2017

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