Emma Suojanen wrote -
Dear Friends, Family, Professors, and Associates,
I am writing to you today on behalf of Community Water Solutions (CWS), an organization focused on implementing sustainable water businesses in communities of the developing world. Every summer and winter, the organization offers a three-week Fellowship Program that sends four students to a rural village in the African nation of Ghana. Emphasizing education and leadership experience, the Fellowship Program teaches participants about the global water crisis and inspires them to become leaders in the field of international development. Fellows become acquainted with water purification technology and then teach the village inhabitants how to properly utilize this technology to provide clean drinking water for their entire village. I was selected as one of these four students and will be traveling to Northern Region Ghana this December in order to further the Community Water Solutions mission.
CWS partners with rural communities in developing countries in order to establish sustainable water treatment businesses, which are owned and operated by women in the communities that they serve. These women are responsible for using simple, affordable technology to treat, distribute and store the safe drinking water for their entire community. The Fellowship Program not only provides these villages with clean drinking water; it also empowers local women by providing them with a business and an income to support their families. While the water treatment businesses are funded by revenue from the sale of drinking water, the initial capital necessary to establish them is generated from fundraising efforts. This is where our role as CWS Fellows begins.
Before traveling to Ghana, each CWS Fellow is required to raise $2,500, all of which will go towards implementing a water purification business in a new village. In doing so, 700-1000 people will gain access to safe drinking water in a country where 1.8 million residents lack access to such resources. Often times, the women living in these rural villages must travel miles 4-6 times each day in order to acquire water from surface water sources called dugouts; these sources are often shared with animals and are both highly turbid and contaminated. The contamination causes a variety of diseases and even death, especially in children under the age of five. Ghana is not a unique case in terms of the global water crisis; according to the World Health Organization, waterborne diseases are a leading cause of illness and death in developing countries. Over 884 million people across the world lack access to clean drinking water. Furthermore, in Africa alone, approximately 700,000 people die each year of preventable waterborne diseases.
I am asking you to help me out with this fundraising effort; in doing so, you will help hundreds of people in need. Water is an indispensable resource we often take for granted, but access to safe water through CWS businesses will actually change the lives of hundreds of people in Ghana. Projects such as these provide the best possible aid to the developing world because of their sustainability; long after we leave, these businesses will continue to provide water to hundreds of people in need. Every little bit helps, so thank you in advance for your generosity! I will be sure to keep you all posted on both my fundraising efforts and my travels to Ghana