Improving Access to Clean Water Worldwide $12 at a Time

March 22, 2017 | No Comments

Over 700 million people around the world lack access to the one thing all people need to survive – water.

Today, on World Water Day, the world is recognizing efforts to tackle the water access crisis.

Today also marks the beginning of Aveda Earth Month.

For more than a decade, Aveda and Global Greengrants Fund have partnered to help local people in the farthest reaches of the globe gain access to clean water. Thanks to the incredible dedication of the Aveda Network and the heart of customers who buy Light the Way candles during Aveda Earth Month, the impact of this remarkable partnership continues to grow and spread.

What difference can a $12 candle make?

Here are a few examples:

Uganda: Improving kids’ chances for a healthy future
Most people in Gomba, Uganda, don’t have access to clean water. About 50 kids under 5 years old die every month from diarrhea and typhoid. The women of the Uganda Women’s Water Initiative recognized the problem, and in June 2014, they used a $2,500 grant funded by proceeds from Aveda Earth Month to build 12 bio-sand water filters in schools to purify kids’ drinking water. Flash forward: The water filters have been installed, and local women say their kids no longer suffer from diarrhea. School absenteeism has reduced by nearly two-thirds, and kids’ families are able to save the money they used to spend in hospitals to pay school fees and feed their kids a balanced diet.

INDIA: Restoring colorful ways of life
Organic dyeing and textile printing has been a cultural staple in Madhya Pradesh, India, for centuries. But in recent decades, the textile industry has shifted from organic dyes to chemical-intensive ones. Now runoff from the dye factories is polluting sacred rivers in the region, posing health risks to rural communities that depend on these waterways for their everyday needs. Plus, chemical dyes produce only a few colors, whereas traditional dyeing offers a beautiful range of tones. Ekatra (Society for Development Alternatives for Women) used a $6,953 grant, funded by proceeds from Aveda Earth Month, to train local artisans on how to use indigo and other natural dyes to help protect rivers, preserve traditional culture, and safeguard the health of local people.

MICRONESIA: Bringing fresh water to the heart of a Pacific village

Facing severe drought, Pohnpei Island relies on a single pipe running from a stream to supply the entire village with water. But the stream was running dry, forcing nearly 200 women and children to walk farther and farther to gather water for their families. A $5,000 grant helped the Pohnuh Women’s Organization build a 1,500-gallon water tank, which fills up overnight and pipes water to each household throughout the day. Thanks to Earth Month funds, local people are also able to repair broken and leaking water pipes in the village.

BRAZIL: Preserving land, life, and clean water

Indigenous allies in the Amazon celebrated in 2016 when Brazil’s government cancelled plans to build the São Luiz do Tapajós dam. If built, the country’s second largest dam would have flooded an area the size of New York City that is home to incredible animal and plant biodiversity, as well as 820,000 people. About 10,000 Munduruku people would have been displaced. Using a grant funded by Global Greengrants’ partnership with Aveda, Movimiento Ipereg Ayu organized thousands of community members and activists to march. Together, they raised awareness of the potential risks associated with the mega-dam project and demanded the government recognize Munduruku rights to their ancestral territory. Their direct action and international pressure worked: Brazil’s Agency on Indigenous Affairs defined 170,000 hectares as indigenous land and cancelled the dam’s license.

Nearly 20 percent of the more than 10,000 community projects Global Greengrants has supported around the world have been funded by proceeds from Light the Way candle sales. The numbers speak for themselves:

  • $12 million raised
  • 1,700 community projects in countries supported
  • 1,100 lakes and rivers protected
  • 900,000 lives impacted

Together, we are helping local people shape the environment they want and deserve. We are where change takes root.

To contribute to projects like those above, purchase a Light the Way candle.

Photo: Elizabeth Weber

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