Imagine it’s seven o’clock in the morning. You snooze your alarm a couple of times, get out of bed and run for a steaming hot shower.
When you get out 15 minutes later, you notice that the house plant your friend gave you for your birthday is looking a bit neglected. You grab a glass, fill it up at the sink and drown the plant back to life before rinsing last night’s dishes and stacking them in the dishwasher. You turn on the coffee machine, use the toilet, grab a glass of water, brush your teeth and run out the door.
When you get in the car, you realise you left your drink bottle on the kitchen bench. With no time to run back and get it, you go on your way. After all, there’s water everywhere.
Your morning routine might seem pretty standard - but the harsh reality is that you used more safe water in your shower than someone in sub-saharan Africa will use all day.
We're not saying you should stop showering - but it’s worth considering what impact you could have by drinking only water in September.
Safe Water September is a challenge to drink nothing but water for the entire month of September. While doing this, we encourage you to raise funds for bore water projects in rural Zimbabwe. For every $20 you raise, one person will gain access to life-changing, life-saving safe water.
A huge 3.5 million people die from water and sanitation related causes each year, with 99 percent of these deaths occurring in the developing world. 650 million people worldwide don't have access to safe water at all.
While the average Australian like you or I consumes an average of 300 litres of water a day between drinking, cleaning and cooking, individuals in sub-saharan Africa make do with less than 20 litres - and those 20 litres don’t simply come from the kitchen sink.
For someone waking up in rural Zimbabwe, the reality is starkly different from what you and I experience at home.
Instead of accessing running water, water is collected from rivers. Many children contract preventable water borne diseases like diarrhoea, which kills more children than HIV/AIDS, malaria and measles combined. Others tragically drown while trying to fill their buckets.
Women in sub-saharan Africa spend a collective 16 million hours a day collecting drinking water while children spend four million hours each day. Water can be more than 15 kilometres away and is collected in heavy buckets, which are then balanced on their shoulders and heads as they return.
Some areas have open wells, though they pose significant health and safety risks of their own. Parents fear that their children will fall into the open wells near schools. Teachers in some areas have stopped going to work because they fear water contamination.
A lack of safe water has a flow on effect, impacting health, nutrition, education, livelihood and so much more.
We need your help to provide safe water to rural Zimbabwe and reduce negative impacts on these communities.
By only drinking water for the month of September, you will experience a small portion of the lack of choice that people living in poverty experience every day. In return, communities in rural Zimbabwe will experience the life changing reality of clean, safe drinking water and the many benefits it brings.
So how does it work?
Firstly, go to the Safe Water September website to sign up for the challenge, create a profile and set yourself a fundraising goal.
Secondly, raise funds and spread the word. Safe Water September relies on the generous donations of friends, family and the community. Make sure you tell your friends, family, church or sporting teams that you’re taking the challenge, but more importantly, remember to tell them why it’s so important to you and the rural communities in Zimbabwe.
Thirdly, keep on drinking water! Do your best to stay committed to the challenge.
Lastly, share your story. Encourage others by using the hashtag #SafeWaterSeptember and update your sponsors on how you're finding the challenge.
If you have any questions, or would like to find out more about the challenge, get in touch with the Safe Water September team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to seeing you become a part of the challenge, and in turn, a part of the change.