There’s nothing more fundamental to human life than water.
People can go weeks without food, but only a few days without water. It’s central to all ecosystems, the simplest most effective way to wash and vital to manufacturing and food production. It’s what we get excited about when we find signs of it on Mars or an underground ocean on Titan, one of the moons of Saturn.
Photo by Danielle Vala, Water for People (India, 2014)
Yet, throughout the developing world, accessing clean or safe water is a constant challenge. In fact, according to the UN, the responsibility for collecting water every day falls disproportionately on women and girls. On average women in these regions spend 25 percent of their day collecting water for their families. This is time not spent working at an income-generating job, caring for family or attending school. Investments in water and sanitation show substantial economic gains.
And it’s not just a problem for the developing world. A recent Op-Ed in the LA Times by Jay Famiglietti, the senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech and a professor of Earth system science at UC Irvine, noted that the state of California has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and the strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing.
“Groundwater and snowpack levels are at all-time lows,” he wrote. “We're not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we're losing the creek too.”
These sorts of stark numbers and reminders are what makes the upcoming World Water Day on March 22 so important. Spreading the message of the importance of sustainable management of water resources is vital to stemming the advance of the global water crisis.
At NetSuite.org, NetSuite’s corporate citizenship arm, it’s constantly on our minds and one of the reasons we’re proud to support nonprofits committed to clean water issues.
Healing Waters International is a faith-based international nonprofit empowering local communities through water equipment, education and training in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America, and Africa. It currently has over 160 water projects operating throughout the world and continues to expand.
Healing Waters operates under what it calls its Holistic Transformation Model: equipping (with low-cost, high performing water treatment systems that transform unsafe, dirty water into safe drinking water), educating (with a “train the trainer” model that teaches health and hygiene curriculum for children, young women, and adults) and empowering (engaging local leaders to lead projects at every site). Healing Waters is also launching The Her Initiative, a powerful tool to empower and resource women globally by empowering women in the US to get involved.
It moved from QuickBooks to NetSuite in 2007 and we’re happy to say that has freed up time and resources to focus on its mission and expand its efforts to more countries. NetSuite OneWorld provides streamlined consolidation of all subsidiary financials with clear visibility on project funding and expenditures.
Similarly, Water For People brings together local entrepreneurs, civil society, governments, and communities to establish creative, collaborative solutions that allow people to build and maintain their own reliable safe water systems. Empowering everyone transforms people’s lives by improving health and economic productivity to end the cycle ofpoverty. Water For People believes that water and sanitation services should be reliable and permanent, so that districts and eventually entire nations never again need a development organization to address thesechallenges. Currently it operates in nine countries around the world. Success is defined as every household, every school, and every public health facility/clinic in those regions having access to improved water and sanitation services.
Water For People measures and reports on its impact constantly at its Re-Imagine Reporting Platform.
We’re happy to report that a software donation from NetSuite.org is helping the organization internally by tying financials to individual projects and budgets vs. actuals. Using NetSuite OneWorld, Water For People is optimizing projects and monitoring and consolidating data from all of its international subsidiary locations with drill-through to detail.
Finally, The Adventure Project, an organization designed to “add venture” capital to support training and job creation in Uganda, Kenya, India and Haiti, with more countries to follow, focuses much of its efforts on clean water initiatives, notably water well maintenance and irrigation systems through organizations like Water for People and others. It channels charity strategically towards jobs that lift people out of poverty while transforming local communities with life-saving services.
NetSuite’s cloud-based financials and CRM help The Adventure Project channels its funding to on-the-ground nonprofit organizations that run training and educational programs that empower local people to deliver much-needed goods and services.
This weekend, World Water Day will focus attention on organizations like Healing Waters, Water for People and The Adventure Project and now is a good time to reflect on the important work they are doing while recognizing that supporting these groups is as fundamental as the need for water itself.