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Gender Gap: Mothers, Daughters Impacted Most by the Global Water Crisis

Alice Kabula and her family

For Alice Kabula, a farmer and seamstress in Kiringa, Uganda, to be clothed with strength means having a body healthy enough to care for her 13 children. For her, living with dignity means having the means to provide her children with food, shelter, education, and safe water. At Water Mission, we believe that the Lord desires for mothers everywhere to have all that they need for the significant and sacrificial work they’re called to do. And we pray that the Lord will continue working through us to fulfill this desire. Motherhood is no easy task, especially for someone without safe water.

Alice and her husband, George
Alice and her husband, George

Our hope is for Alice to see her children thrive. Alice used to watch her family suffer from frequent, debilitating waterborne illnesses. Trachoma, a disease that can lead to eye infections and even blindness, was especially common in Kiringa. While Alice dreamed of a future filled with opportunities for her sons and daughters, she struggled to pay their school fees because the family spent so much money on medical care.

The source of the waterborne diseases her family suffered was evident but unavoidable without a safe water supply. “We used to get our water from a swamp,” Alice told us.

Alice's former water source
Alice’s former water source

This dirty water also took hours for Alice and her daughters to collect, stealing time they could have spent working or studying. Sadly, their experience is not unusual. Today, women are disproportionately affected by the global water crisis. Around the world, women bear the primary responsibility of collecting water, cooking, and caring for their families. In Africa, women and children collectively spend 200 million hours each day walking for water — a journey that averages 3.5 miles.

Women at a Water Mission tap stand

Today, thanks to the generosity of our supporters and partners, it takes Alice just minutes to fill her jerry can with safe water from a Water Mission tap stand. And since Water Mission installed a Healthy Latrine on her property, her whole family is healthier.

Water Mission's Healthy Latrine
Water Mission’s Healthy Latrine

“We no longer fall sick all the time. The money we would have spent on medicine now goes to paying school fees. We want to continue improving our lives, educating our children in school, and teaching them about being safe and clean.”

— Alice Kabula

Now that Alice no longer spends hours collecting water, she has time to volunteer with Water Mission to lead the local safe water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) promotion team — a group of community educators who are passionate about sharing key health information with their neighbors. This aspect of our community development approach encourages ownership and stewardship, and fosters the kind of pride, strength, and dignity that we’ve seen emerge in the families we serve.

Alice using a Tippy Tap — one of Water Mission's healthy handwashing solutions
Alice using a Tippy Tap — one of Water Mission’s healthy handwashing solutions

This Mother’s Day, we pray that the implementation of safe WASH solutions will embolden women to live out what Proverbs 31 so beautifully illustrates. We pray that through this work, women everywhere will be clothed in strength, honor, and dignity, and that with the fruit of these mothers’ hands — and where clean, safe water flows — vineyards of grace and love will be planted.

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