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Procter and Gamble: Providing Safe Drinking Water to Those in Need

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African woman carying laundry on head and carrying empty bucket Giving Back—Imagine giving your kids dirty water to drink. Imagine doing so knowing that your child will probably get diarrhea from that water, and that you live in a country where diarrhea can't be treated and often results in death. The only reason I imagine you would give your child that water is if you had no other option. This is the horrible reality for many mothers in Africa, as we've talked about before here and here. This is the gargantuan challenge that some companies, such as Aveda and Procter & Gamble, are trying to address.

Indeed, imagine taking on these statistics:

  • Almost one billion people do not have access to safe water.
  • Diarrhea caused by drinking contaminated water remains a leading cause of illness and death among infants and children in the developing world.
  • About 1.8 million children die every year due to diarrhea diseases.
  • More children die from diarrhea illnesses like cholera and dysentery than from HIV/AIDS or malaria combined.

Procter and Gamble, the global company that provides consumer products in the areas of pharmaceuticals, cleaning supplies, personal care, and pet supplies, has collaborated with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) since 1995 to develop safe drinking water systems that people can easily use in their homes. Says a company representative: "There is conclusive evidence that simple, low-cost interventions at the community level can dramatically improve the quality of household stored water and greatly reduce the risk of diarrheal disease and death. It is well documented that simply providing safe, clean, drinkable water can reduce deadly diarrhea and other devastating diseases by about 50%."

So, they are meeting the challenge of providing clean water by providing PUR packets in developing countries. These packets, about the size of a handi-wipes packet, were developed by Procter and Gamble and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and use some of the same ingredients as municipal water systems to remove pollutants from contaminated water. Procter and Gamble's non-profit Children's Safe Drinking Water program has already provided more than 3 billion liters of water to children in need in over 60 countries since 2005. But they have "upped the ante" and plan to deliver 4 billion liters by 2012, then to save one life every hour by delivering more than 2 billion liters of clean drinking water every year by 2020.

P&G brandSaver magazine Imagine that there was a way for you to help them reach that goal, without donating one cent. Imagine actually helping to prevent the death of a child from an easily preventable condition. This Sunday (June 5th), a special edition of the P&G GIVE HEALTH brandSAVER coupon booklet will be distributed in newspapers across the country, with discounts for P&G brands. For each brandSAVER coupon redeemed, one day of clean drinking water will be donated to people in developing countries through the P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program. (If you don't get a Sunday paper, visit this site to see where you can pick one up, or "like" them on Facebook for a similar donation.)

So, you don't have to fly to Africa or spend billions of dollars to help people there. Just use a little imagination!

How do you plan on supporting Procter and Gamble's Children's Safe Drinking Water Program?



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