Water is life.
Access to water is a basic human need, a fundamental human right. But according to a 2006 United Nation’s Human Development Report, more than 1 billion people are denied clean water, and more than 2.6 billion of our brothers and sisters lack access to adequate sanitation.
Every year, 1.8 million children die as a result of diarrhea and other diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation. Every day, millions of women and young girls spend hours collecting water instead of attending school or earning wages at a paying job. In the Philippines, 16 million Filipinos do not have access to safe drinking water (Millennium Development Goals Report 2010). One out of five Filipinos is being deprived of a basic human right: water.
Thanks to the collaboration of the Philippine government, private sector, nongovernment agencies (NGOs) and Millennium Development Goals Fund (MDGF) Philippines, Filipinos at home and abroad are working to alleviate this shameful situation.
Philippine Water Runs (PWR 11) is a series of benefit runs scheduled in major cities across the Philippines from Sept 15, 2011 through March, 2012. The goals are to raise funds to provide immediate solutions for families most in need and to increase awareness of potable water’s vital importance.
One of the methods for delivering clean drinking water to families in need is the “Lifestraw.” This is a mobile unit manufactured in Switzerland by Vestergaard Fransen. It requires no batteries, electricity or external filters. For every 20 racers registered, a needy family will be given (and taught to use) this water purifier which produces a neutral taste and positive appearance, while promising to deliver clean drinking water free of bacteria, viruses, protozoan parasites, and fecal matter. One Lifestraw unit filters up to 18,000 liters of water, enough to supply a family of five for three years.
The PWR 11 organizers are aware that this is only a temporary solution. A government project under way called “Sagana at Ligtas na Tubig para sa Lahat” will provide permanent solutions for needy communities.
The initial run on September 18 is in Vigan. Subsequent runs will be in Naga City (October), Quezon City (November), Marikina City (January), Davao City (February) and Cebu City (March). There will be 3K, 5K and 10K runs in each city, and registration fees range from P350 to P500. Registration generally begins two months before each event; registration for the Vigan kickoff has already started.
I encourage our kababayan in the Philippines to support this great initiative. I encourage Filipinos outside the Philippines to donate or pay for a registration of a local runner. It’s less than $10 per participant. Registration details are available on the Facebook page for “Philippine Water Runs” or at www.thewaterruns.com.
I’m putting my money where my mouth is. Starting today, 80% of proceeds from the purchase of my water-advocacy anthem “Flow: A Simple Drink of Water” from my Something Good album will be donated to PWR.
Here’s to clean water! Here’s to life!