Elizabeth Kiem is the online producer for unicefusa.org
Here at the U.S. Fund, World Water Week is zero hour for the Tap Project – a concentrated appeal to bolster UNICEF’s water, sanitation and hygiene fund in a few select countries: Togo, Central African Republic, Vietnam, Guatemala and Haiti.
But each and every day we are mindful of the disparities water resources create in every country around the world.
That’s why we salute the global perspective of National Geographic, which devoted the entire April issue of its magazine to the subject.
Read the Water issue today, if you haven’t already. It’s full of great stuff – a lyrical essay by Barbara Kingsolver, an adorable photo of a snake-necked turtle, facts about desalination.
But we were particularly struck by this story about the burden of water for so many of the world’s women. This is a story UNICEF hears constantly and which we are working to change.
We’ll get back to you soon with some updated stats about how far the UNICEF Tap Project will go towards easing the burden of water for those who struggle the most to secure it. Until then, test your drinking water savvy, and pass it on!
Are you looking for another way to support the Tap Project in its efforts to bring clean water to children around the world? Support us on eBay Giving Works!
During World Water Week we will be featured on eBay Giving Works, making it easier than ever to make donations to our cause. With eBay Giving Works you can:
- Sell your unwanted items and donate 10-100% of the final sale price to the Tap Project on eBay Giving Works and receive a credit on our basic selling fees.
- Buy items that are already listed to benefit our cause.
- Make an immediate donation via PayPal through Donate Now.
- Purchase items anywhere on eBay, pay with PayPal, and donate $1-$25 to UNICEF’s Tap Project when you see us in checkout March 22nd
Elizabeth Kiem is the online producer for unicefusa.org.
This week’s Monday photo caught my eye late last week. It’s a beautiful picture of a beautiful girl, with patience as notable as her head of hair. “She was standing in a long line at dawn for a UNICEF water tanker, shampoo and comb in hand,” wrote UNICEF correspondent Thomas Nybo when I asked him about his picture.
|© Thomas Nybo
|Haiti: A young girl waits in line for a UNICEF water tanker.
I recalled visiting Haiti with UNICEF in 2008, when the country was recovering from a string of ferocious hurricanes. I remembered being impressed with the number of hair salons in the capital. I thought of the many women I had seen calmly and carefully plaiting their daughters’ heads, outside houses were still filled with mud from the flooding and storms.
But this photo also made me laugh when I saw it.
Because I had spent the early morning grooming my own son. See, an outbreak of headlice has consumed just about every public school in Brooklyn this month, and I don’t know many mothers who haven’t spent an inordinate amount of time “checking heads.”
If you were to judge the outbreak by the dismay and lamentations of parents in the schoolyard, you might think that we were facing a true disaster. Of course, we are not. We are merely inconvenienced. We have abundant water and working sanitation. We have the means to address an infestation of lice with a trip to the drugstore or even a professional “nitpicker” at whom we can throw money and gratitude and walk away, unburdened.
This is not the case in Haiti today, where the rainy season is just around the corner, threatening 1.3 million homeless families who are already struggling to keep their children clean and healthy.
Thank you Thomas, and thank you to this patient young lady waiting to wash her hair, for reminding us that an itchy scalp is an inconvenience and not a disaster.
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Despite the challenges, efforts are underway to unload and deliver UNICEF emergency supplies and equipment that arrived in Port-au-Prince by plane in the early hours of January 15th. This first UNICEF shipment included water tanks, water purification tablets and rehydration salts, in addition to telecommunications and computer equipment.
Two more planes loaded with relief are planned for the weekend, carrying some 70 metric tons of tents, tarpaulin, and medicine.
Clean water and sanitation are among the most important emergency relief needs following most emergencies, in particular to protect against the serious health risks posed by diarrheal infections and diseases.
100 percent of your donation is being used to provide these and other life saving goods and services to the people of Haiti. Please continue to support UNICEF, make a donation today!