Highlights from the 2019 Global 6K for Water

On May 4, 2019, thousands of participants around the globe united to walk or run in World Vision’s Global 6K for Water. Six kilometers is the average distance people in the developing world walk for water, which is often contaminated with life-threatening diseases.  

Each step by every participant — young and old — is bringing life-changing clean water closer to communities in need through the event registration fee 

 

Here are some of the highlights from this remarkable weekend. 

A new kind of bib

In Seattle, whole families participated together in the Global 6K, each member receiving a bib with the name and photo of a child on it. The child is available for sponsorship, which also helps fund clean water projects. (©2019 World Vision/photo by Eugene Lee) 

Finding your drive

“There’s children who do this every day for water, and it’s not even clean, says Gigi Stevens, who not only ran the Chicago 6K for Water but added on a 5K beforehand to run an 11K for her 11th birthday, which fell the next day. She surpassed her fundraising goal of $1,100 and raised $2,815 for clean water.   

“When I was running the 11 kilometers, I got tired, but it was worth it to bring clean water to more people,” says Gigi, who ran with their family friend, Ashley Peters (right). “There’s children who do this every day for water, and it’s not even clean.” (©2019 World Vision/photo by Andrea Peer) 

Challenging yourself and others

Khayriyyah Aleem, 75, celebrates the 2019 Global 6K for Water with Antioch Baptist Church at Burke Lake Park in Fairfax Station, Virginia, on April 27, 2019.  

This is the church’s third year, as well as Khayriyyah’s 

“Growing up in D.C. in a poor family, I know what it’s like to be without things,” Khayriyyah says. “There were hungry days. There were sad days. 

“God has blessed me, even though I am in this chair and I am legally blind.” 

Continuing what she’s done over the past few years, she raised $770 this year by asking people she knew for donations.  

“Just because you don’t have money, don’t mean you can’t get money,” she says. I don’t have money, but I go and ask people. So just because you don’t have money, don’t mean you can’t help.” (©2019 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger) 

The jerrycan challenge

Brothers-in-law Solomon Kain (center) and Zach Trandom (right) are two fathers willing to go the extra mile for their children — and children around the world.  

Zach shares, “A big reason why we started doing [the Global 6K] is for our kids. To show them how hard families — and kids their own age — work for dirty water that only makes them sick and that we have the power to change their lives forever.” 

This is their second year carrying 20-liter, 44-pound jerrycans during the Global 6K in Seattle. 

Zach continues “We also want to show [our kids] that we’re willing to go to any length on their behalf.  If we had to take on this challenge every day just to make sure they had what they needed, we’d do it.” (©2019 World Vision/photo by Eugene Lee) 

A birthday celebration

Amara Mohn (second from left in front) chose to spend her 13th birthday participating in the Global 6K for Water in Chicago, and she persuaded the rest of her family to join her.  

Her brother Carston (right) opted to carry a jerrycan the whole way. “About halfway through, it got really tough,” he says. “I started wondering why I signed up for this when I heard someone yell, ‘You’re not doing this for you, you’re doing it for someone else.’ And that motivated me the rest of the way. Thinking about how children do this every day makes my heart hurt. It’s a lot of weight physically and emotionally.”2019 World Vision/photo by Andrea Peer) 

Walking in her shoes

Like many mothers in developing countries, this father not only carried a jerrycan of water, but also his young baby strapped to his chest. He participated with Peninsula Community Center in Redwood City, California, where more than 400 people walked and ran, raising nearly $28,000. (©2019 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger) 

Bridging generations

Truxton “Truck” Howick, 76, high-fives Jonathan Casanova, 1, as he and his mother, Tricia, walk the Global 6K for Water at Lake Sawyer Church in Black Diamond, Washington. The event drew more than 300 participants — about 100 more than last year and raised more than $21,000. (©2019 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber) 

Finishing strong

A cacophony of cheers greets participants as they cross the finish line at the World Vision-hosted site in Seattle’s Gas Works Park. (©2019World Vision/photo by Eugene Lee) 

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7-year-old’s quest to end water crisis gains momentum

On the eve of the 2016 Kansas City Half Marathon, the Holy Spirit planted a dream in 7-year-old Addyson Moffitt’s heart: see every kid have clean water in her lifetime.

She’d learned about a little girl in Kenya named Maurine and that many kids like her don’t have clean water.

“I wanted to help them,” says Addyson, now 10. “I didn’t feel that it was fair that they had to go do that, and I just have to go to my refrigerator and get clean water.”

So she told her mother she wanted to run the half marathon next year and raise funds for clean water.

In the days that followed, Addyson peppered her mom and dad, Shayla and Bryan, with questions — when does training start, when can she start fundraising, how can she fundraise.

“That’s when we knew it was real,” Shayla says. “It wasn’t just a 7-year-old who had an inspiring evening.”

Shayla and Bryan prayed, asking God to lead them and Addyson as she began fundraising toward a $1,310 goal to represent the 13.1 miles she’d be running. When the half marathon arrived in October 2017, Addyson had raised more than $20,000.

She finished the race, and her mission only grew “because, you know, we can’t stop fundraising and running until the water crisis ends.”

Around then, her family sponsored two children who live in Maurine’s community. They began writing letters and sending school photos as well as praying for them and Maurine.

In spring 2018, the family ran the Global 6K for Water together for the second year in a row.

“It’s not a race. It’s not who comes in first. It’s not who has the best time,” Shayla says. “It is finding purpose and knowing that when you move one foot in front of another, you are impacting a life clear across the world.”

By the 2018 Kansas City Half Marathon in October, Addyson had raised more than $60,000. She ran again, and then in November, she appeared on The Steve Harvey Show to share her story. He surprised her with $5,000 toward her fundraising and a trip for Addyson and her family to visit Kenya in the spring to meet their sponsored child and visit Maurine.

Addyson hopes to raise another $60,000 this year, and she’s planning to run in the Global 6K for Water with her family on May 4.

“Don’t let anybody take down your big dreams,” Addyson says. “People might tell you that you’re too young, you’re too small, but don’t listen to them. Just always go for your dreams and don’t let anyone stop you.”

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Global 6K for Water creates an unforgettable moment for a California pastor

What are the unforgettable moments in your life? It could have been when you drove a car for the first time or got your first paycheck. Or when your favorite sports team won a game or even a championship. What about marrying the love of your life or holding your baby in your arms for the first time? Or that moment when you realized how much the people in your life love you?

For 44-year-old Nicole Wetmore, meeting her sponsored child, 5-year-old Grace, in Uganda became one of her unforgettable moments.

“Just when you feel your heart is full and you can’t take in another thing because you’ve had so many great experiences, or you’ve learned so much, God has a way of breaking your heart again, but in the best possible way,” says Nicole, the local and global missions pastor at Green Valley Community Church in Placerville, California. “It’s a glimpse of allowing us to feel the love he has for people and the way his heart breaks when he sees his people hurting and in need.”

 

Her unforgettable moment wouldn’t have been possible without the Global 6K for Water. Back in May 2018, the second year Nicole served as Green Valley’s Global 6K host site leader, her race bib featured Grace.

“I walked on behalf of Grace because it’s a small way for me to contribute to a greater cause,” she says.

Every Global 6K participant provides clean water to one person in the developing world through the $50 registration fee, and their race bib has the picture, name, and age of a child who will benefit from World Vision’s clean water work.

“These are real people with real issues, and real hopes, and real dreams, and they are facing real challenges too,” Nicole says.

Green Valley Community Church in Placerville California at the Global 6K for Water in 2018.
Grace was on Nicole’s race bib at the Global 6K. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger)

Six kilometers, a little more than 3.7 miles, is the average distance round trip that women and children in the developing world walk for water. Imagine carrying 44 pounds of water in a 20-liter jerrycan on the way home from the water source. If that’s not enough, 15 liters is considered a bare minimum water supply for one person, so you’ll need to make a few more trips.

The thought of her three sons walking for water — water often contaminated with life-threatening diseases — puts the Global 6K in perspective for Nicole.

“I don’t think about water at home. I walk to the faucet and turn it on,” she says. “And I’m often complaining if it’s not getting hot or cold fast enough. To think that if we didn’t have access to water, I’d have to send my kids off to go collect water for our family — it would be significant.”

That knowledge drives Nicole to tell everyone she knows about the global water crisis and how they can make a difference through the Global 6K.

“One of the most surprising things for me was hearing how excited everybody else was about rallying around clean water and participating in the Global 6K,” Nicole says. “When it doesn’t affect you directly, you think people are disinterested. But then when you’re able to explain what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, it’s pretty cool to have so many people come together for such a great cause.”

Green Valley Community Church in Placerville California at the Global 6K for Water in 2018.
Participants from Green Valley Community Church pose for a group photo before the 6K begins. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger)

How many exactly? Nearly 170 people participated in Green Valley’s Global 6K in 2018 — everyone from families with strollers carrying both children and dogs to a marathon runner who helped measure the course so that it was exactly 6K.

“I’m not a runner,” Nicole says. “I’m barely a walker sometimes, but the Global 6K is something anyone can participate in. If you can move, you can be involved — even if you can’t walk it. We had volunteers that couldn’t participate but were involved in the process because they have a heart for people and a heart for kids and it was important to them. So just do it.”

Later that day and the next morning during weekend church services, Green Valley continued to educate their congregation on the global water crisis and how each of them can impact a child’s life in a powerful way.

“With Celebration Sunday, we get to not only celebrate what’s happened with the Global 6K, but also take a look at child sponsorship in a different way,” Nicole says. “We didn’t choose where we were born. Some of us ended up here in Placerville and some of us ended up in countries in Africa.”

Nicole says it’s significant that participants can continue the relationship with the child on their race bib by sponsoring them — an opportunity to develop a friendship with a child on the other side of the world and show them the love of God, which brings hope and lifelong transformation.

 

“When I heard about [Grace’s] story and the needs that her family has, I was really blown away and touched that I would be able to sponsor her,” Nicole says.

That choice to sponsor Grace led Nicole to travel more than 9,000 miles to Morungatuny, Uganda, in October 2018, where Grace greeted her with a beaming smile. Nicole’s smile was just as bright.

“Visiting this community and seeing it firsthand puts a whole other layer on making this relationship very personal,” Nicole says. “Even though I had some information about this little girl and her community on a card, meeting her really brings it home and makes you think about your own family and your own circumstances.”

Nicole couldn’t help but notice the stark contrast.

Not even six months after the Global 6K for Water, California pastor Nicole Wetmore traveled to Uganda to meet Grace, who appeared on her 6K race bib.
It was an emotional meeting for the both of them. (©2018 World Vision/photo by K.T. Vera)

“I can’t imagine sending my 5-year-old, let alone my 5-year-old and my 3-year-old, off to go fetch water in such dangerous conditions,” Nicole says. “It’s heartbreaking to think about, and yet this is her responsibility in her family. And in spite of all that, she’s warm, she’s funny, she likes to play, and she likes to do all the same things my kids used to like to do.”

But despite Grace’s current circumstances, Nicole knows there is hope.

“The work World Vision is doing here is so significant in these communities,” she says. “Certainly, access to clean water is vital, but the dignity and value that they bring to life with issues like sanitation and child protection, it is amazing how the leadership here is investing in the community and empowering community leaders and people from this region to take ownership of their community. It’s incredible.”

Grace is one of 36 kids sponsored through the 2018 Global 6K for Water and Celebration Sunday at Green Valley, contributing to more than 2,000 children sponsored through the 2018 Global 6K. And for Nicole, as she remembers her unforgettable moment meeting Grace, there’s greater meaning behind Green Valley’s Global 6K for Water and Celebration Sunday this year.

“It’s something we’re all called to do — to help, serve, and love those in need,” Nicole says. “Whether it’s in our backyard or across the globe, this is something every church, every organization can participate in. We can all do something together to solve the global water crisis.”

How you can help end the global water crisis

  • Learn more about clean water and how you can be part of the movement to end the global water crisis by 2030.
  • Join us in praying that more and more communities, including Grace’s, would have access to clean water.
  • Sponsor the child on your bib from Global 6K for Water. Text 6K to 56170 to sponsor the child on your bib; it’s the fastest and simplest way to sponsor! Or you can check your 6K confirmation email for a link or look up your bib number.
  • Give a monthly gift to provide clean water to communities lacking it. Your ongoing gift creates lasting change in a community.

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What is cholera? Facts, FAQs, and how to help

Cholera is an intestinal infection caused by bacteria. The disease is often contracted from drinking unclean water. Each year, 1.3 million to 4 million people around the world suffer from cholera and 21,000 to 143,000 people die of the disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Most people who contract cholera show no symptoms, but in some cases, severe diarrhea, dehydration, and death occur within hours of onset.

Cholera is easily treated with oral rehydration solution, though people with severe cases need intravenous fluid replacement. With the right rehydration treatment, fewer than 1 percent of cholera patients die.

Cholera is a high risk in sub-Saharan Africa where clean water and sanitation are often lacking. The disease crops up in other parts of the world when conflict or natural disasters damage water systems and displace families.

The long-term solution to the global scourge of cholera is in providing access to clean water and sanitation.

Cholera timeline

400 BC — Greek physician Hippocrates describes a diarrheal disease like cholera.

1817 to 1823 — In the first known cholera pandemic, an outbreak engulfing a large region, the disease spreads from the Ganges River delta to the rest of India. The disease is thought to have originated in the Ganges Valley, where it has been known there since antiquity.  Through trade and colonization, the outbreak spreads to Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, East Africa, and coastal Mediterranean regions.

1829 to 1851 — The second cholera pandemic spreads from India as far as Europe and the Americas.

1854 — Italian Filippo Pacini first isolates the cholera bacterium, Vibrio cholerae.

1863 to 1923 — The third, fourth, fifth, and sixth pandemics also originate and spread from India, each with a slightly different strain of the bacteria.

1883 — Robert Koch identifies Vibrio cholerae as the cause of cholera in an Egyptian outbreak, contributing to the modern understanding of infectious diseases.

1961 — The seventh cholera pandemic starts and spreads from Indonesia. It continues to cause devastating losses in Africa.

1979 — Oral rehydration therapy is introduced as a standard treatment for cholera.

2010 — Because of poor sanitation after the Haiti earthquake, a cholera outbreak that starts in the fall of 2010 spreads rapidly through displacement camps. Haitian health officials reported in October 2018 that cholera infected more than 819,000 people and killed nearly 10,000 since the outbreak began. About 3,400 new cases are reported at the end of 2018.

2016 — Yemen experiences the worst outbreak in history, affecting more than 1 million people; it is still ongoing as of March 2019. The U.N. estimates that 16 million people of Yemen’s 29 million people lack safe water and adequate sanitation.

2017 — The Global Task Force on Cholera Control, led by the World Health Organization, outlines a plan to interrupt the spread of cholera and reduce deaths by 90 percent by 2030.

April 2019 — In Mozambique, cholera is spreading rapidly among populations displaced by Cyclone Idai in March. A massive vaccination campaign has begun.

FAQs: What you need to know about cholera

Explore frequently asked questions about cholera, and learn how you can help children and families at risk of the disease.

What is cholera?

Cholera is an intestinal infection caused by Vibrio cholerae bacteria. Most people get it from contaminated water or food. Cholera may cause extreme diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and even death.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

What are the symptoms of cholera?

Cholera symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. Untreated, these conditions may lead to rapid dehydration, septic shock, kidney failure, and death within hours. Children with cholera may also experience drowsiness, fever, and convulsions. About 10 percent of those who contract the disease have severe symptoms.

About 80 percent of people infected by the cholera bacteria have no symptoms, and their infection runs its course without treatment. However, without proper waste disposal, the bacteria passed through their bodies can infect others.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

What is the difference between cholera, acute watery diarrhea, and dysentery?

Cholera is a form of acute watery diarrhea caused by a specific strain of bacteria, Vibrio cholerae. Acute watery diarrhea is most often a symptom of an intestinal infection, which can be caused by different bacteria, viruses, or parasites. The term dysentery describes an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract that causes bloody diarrhea. Any of several bacteria or amoebas cause dysentery. Common strains of the cholera bacteria do not cause bloody diarrhea.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

Where is cholera found?

Cholera occurs primarily in Africa and in South and Southeast Asia, most often in tropical regions. In about 50 countries where the disease occurs regularly, it is said to be endemic. In these cholera-endemic countries, outbreaks often occur in the rainy season when drinking water may become contaminated through flooding. Since the 2010 cholera epidemic in Haiti, cholera has become endemic there.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

What is the difference between an epidemic, outbreak, and pandemic?

When even one case of cholera is diagnosed in a new location and determined to be locally transmitted, it is an outbreak. When cholera spreads rapidly to many people, that is an epidemic. A pandemic occurs when it spreads globally.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

Why is cholera especially dangerous for infants and young children?

Children can become dehydrated rapidly by the vomiting and diarrhea associated with cholera. In places where cholera is endemic — local, regular transmission — young children lack the immunity that adults may have developed over time. Also, children who are weakened by malnutrition are more susceptible to a cholera infection.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

Is clean water really the only way to prevent cholera?

Yes, the only sure way to prevent cholera is by using clean water for drinking and cooking, washing hands frequently with soap and water, and using a latrine for sanitation. But globally, 844 million people lack access to clean water. Ending Cholera: The Global Roadmap to 2030, a plan to reduce cholera deaths by 90 percent, prioritizes reaching people most in need with clean water and sanitation.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

Is there a cholera vaccine?

A single-dose oral vaccine has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for adults who are traveling to areas where cholera is spreading. Even with the vaccine, it is important to avoid exposure to cholera bacteria through good hygiene practices.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

How can I help people at risk of cholera?

Help bring clean water and sanitation to communities and families around the world as a World Vision supporter. Over the last three years, we reached more than 12.7 million people with clean water. Our goals for the future are even more ambitious, but achievable, with your help.

  • Pray: Ask God to pour his blessings out on families in need of clean water.
  • Give: Help provide clean water for children and families.
  • Run or walk in the Global 6K for Water May 4, 2019, to bring clean water to children around the world, or make a long-term commitment to join Team World Vision in the race to bring clean water and the opportunity for fullness of life to children around the world.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

What is World Vision doing to end the global water crisis?

World Vision is the leading nongovernmental provider of clean drinking water in the developing world. We are reaching one new person every 10 seconds and three more schools every day with clean water.

World Vision focuses on bringing water to people living in poverty in rural areas with the greatest disease burden. We invest an average of 15 years in a community, cultivating local ownership and training people to manage and maintain water points. In this way, we save lives and ensure good health for millions of people annually. Our efforts include:

  • Drilling, developing, and repairing wells and other vital water points
  • Teaching local community members how to keep water flowing
  • Overseeing the building of latrines and hand-washing facilities
  • Promoting healthy hygiene practices through education and behavior change programming

BACK TO QUESTIONS

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The best return: Benefits and blessings of clean water

Throughout my career, one subject has been near and dear to my heart: return on investment (ROI).

As a Wharton MBA holder, and later in my 20 years at Procter & Gamble, I obsessed over this measure. I demanded a high ROI from the projects pro­posed to me, and I drove my teams for even higher returns. Every year, every quarter, every day, I was consumed by the relentless pursuit of greater produc­tivity for every dollar.

When I made the switch from the corporate world to World Vision — from for-profit to for-impact — I discovered that return on investment is even more important. Here, the ROI is saving people’s lives for kingdom impact.

If you’re aiming for a dramatic and lasting change in a community, clean water is the key. Water-related diseases like diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, and typhoid can take down the toughest gladiator, so imagine what they do to a young child. Every day, nearly 1,000 children under 5 die from problems asso­ciated with contaminated water and poor sanitation. Clean water can change that number to zero.

Through World Vision’s water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs, we reach one new person every 10 seconds and three more schools every day with clean water. We have deep experience, tried and tested solutions, and a bold plan to reach everyone, everywhere we work with clean water by 2030.

With our presence in nearly 100 countries, the trust we develop within communities, and God’s continued help, we will get it done.

Dorcas’ community desperately needed an investment, and it came from World Vision sponsors.—Edgar Sandoval Sr., World Vision U.S. president

This work came alive for me when I visited Zambia in 2015 and met 9-year-old Dorcas. This tough little girl was taking care of her grandmother — mak­ing sure she took her HIV medicine — as well as cooking, cleaning, and getting water every day. With all of these responsibilities, Dorcas didn’t have much time for school.

I saw the pond where Dorcas used to get water. It was shared by animals, which often fell in — and sometimes couldn’t get out. A dog once drowned and decomposed in that pond, but the villagers had no choice but to continue to draw water there.

Dorcas’ community desperately needed an investment, and it came from World Vision sponsors.

After engineers installed borehole wells, Dorcas had fresh water to drink practically next to her house.

And everything changed: Her grandmother’s health improved, Dorcas returned to school, and she shot to number five in her class. “I want to be first!” she told me. I know she’ll get there.

I have no hesitation telling investors large and small that WASH is a great investment. But here’s the catch: The high return is not for you. It’s for a childlike Dorcas and her entire commu­nity, freeing them from the risks and restraints of contaminated water.

Along with that life-changing return, there can be an eternal benefit. At World Vision, Christ is at the center of all we do, and our water programs provide an opportunity, at the right time and in the right way, to share about Jesus, the Source of “living water.”

We are honored to invest in solutions to the global water crisis. Beyond this, is there any better return than the poten­tial of new life in Jesus, who promises that we will never be thirsty again?


Edgar Sandoval Sr. became president of World Vision U.S. on Oct. 1, 2018. Follow him at twitter.com/EdgarSandovalSr.

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How’d they do that: Clean water in emergencies

When disaster strikes, access to clean water is critical for people’s survival and communal health. Different situations require different approaches. Here are three different ways World Vision emergency responders bring life-saving clean water in emergencies around the world.

Building a water system from scratch in the desert

In Jordan, one of the world’s most water-scarce countries, World Vision constructed the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) system for part of Azraq camp for Syrian refugees. Here’s a breakdown of how it happened.

  1. Government officials and members of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) selected a site to host refugees.
  2. A cooperative of Jordanian, United Nations, and aid agencies designed and laid out the details of the new camp with safety, comfort, and cultural considerations in mind.
  3. The WASH cooperative approved World Vision to build the WASH systems for a section of the camp that will host up to 30,000 people.
  4. Staff prepared site plans and work orders and then hired local contractors.
  5. Staff made the new borehole sites accessible for water trucks, securing it with fencing and pavement.
  6. Contractors dug trenches and ordered pipes, valves, faucets, metal sheets and hardware for latrines and shower stalls. Local manufacturing companies constructed 2,700 concrete septic tanks.
  7. Staff supervised the installation of the system, including nearly 7 miles of pipeline to bring water from the tanks to 156 taps.
  8. Engineers turned on the water.
  9. Engineers managed the system for two years, monitoring water quality and regulating flow.
  10. Staff conducted hygiene training sessions with refugees in schools and health centers to improve health and general hygiene.
  11. Staff designed an exit strategy, handed over the work to UNHCR, and, eventually, to the camp residents themselves.

Surviving after a rapid-onset disaster

Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico’s electrical grid. Many communities lost water service. Here’s one way fast-acting aid workers brought clean water to storm survivors.

  1. World Vision staff contacted a corporate partner to purchase or receive a donation of mobile high-volume water filtration units for survivors who urgently needed clean drinking water. These systems can filter about 10 gallons of water per minute and serve hundreds of people daily.
  2. A Puerto Rico-bound cargo plane transported the filters and other supplies to the disaster zone.
  3. Upon arrival, a local transport company picked the units up and delivered them to World Vision’s local church partner.
  4. Staff donated units to partners like the International Medical Corps, which used them in four clinics that treated people seven days a week. Each clinic can filter an estimated more than 4,800 gallons of water per day to serve patients and local residents.
  5. One unit stayed with the church, so World Vision-trained local staff could filter water for families in the city and surrounding areas. Other units were donated to partner organizations to serve their communities as needed.

Restoring and maintaining a water system for the long-haul

Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in 2013 as one of the strongest storms on record. It left entire communities without working water and sanitation systems. Here’s how World Vision helped communities in the Philippines build back better.

  1. World Vision aid workers distributed supplies like bottled water, jerrycans, purification packets, and soap to help families survive immediately after the storm.
  2. World Vision deployed teams to promote good hygiene and safe water treatment.
  3. Once roads were passable, World Vision staff and local companies delivered donated generators to get water flowing again in remote, hard-hit communities.
  4. Engineers and local leaders rehabilitated damaged water points, allowing schools to open and families to focus on recovery.
  5. World Vision hired skilled local contractors to install new water points, pipelines, and taps.
  6. Months to years after the storm, local staff trained and equipped community members to plant trees to mitigate flooding.
  7. World Vision and health department staff tested the water quality and facilitated the formation and training of local WASH committees to manage the water systems long-term.

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Life frames: Water and love in Bangladesh

Written and photographed by World Vision photographer Jon Warren

Nikon Z6

24-70mm lens, 1/320th at f/5, ISO 280

*     *     *

Bikash, 29, tenderly places a marigold in the hair of his beautiful wife, Tumpa.

I raise my camera to record the loving moment that is so unexpected for a story about the impact of USAID-funded World Vision programs in Bangladesh. I knew I’d see improved health and water systems, economic and agricultural improvement, disaster preparedness and better governance — but a couple’s restored relationship? What a delight!

“We are not like we were before,” Tumpa says. Life changed after they enrolled in World Vision classes, including one for strengthening families.

Now, both serve on the water management committee, making sure their sand filter produces clean water for their community. Because of high levels of arsenic in the groundwater and salinity from encroaching seawater, filtration is their best drinking water solution. They’re determined to carry on the learnings to their 2-year-old son, Arko.

Many Bangladeshi women often trek four times daily to gather water, each trip taking up to an hour. Not Tumpa. Bikash zooms by, his bicycle loaded with water containers, so she doesn’t have to carry the burden.

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Chicago-area company creates vision through the Global 6K for Water

Tom and Reid Hutchison share not just a name that runs a third-generation family-business, but they also share a passion for bringing clean water to people in need.

Their company, HOH Water Technology in Palatine, Illinois, specializes in water treatment solutions. Tom serves as president of the Chicago-area organization, and Reid, his son, works as the director of marketing. While their business has a stake in the water game, God placed a burden on each of their hearts in different ways to help solve the global water crisis.

Since then, both Tom and Reid have become passionate about educating and inspiring HOH’s 100 employees and the company’s network about the worldwide lack of access to clean water and participating in the annual Global 6K for Water. Here’s how that happened.

A mission trip opens eyes

In 2012, Tom traveled to Indonesia with his church as part of a short-term mission trip. The trip wasn’t based on doing any sort of water ministry, but while there, he connected with an organization called Water Mission that was working to provide safe drinking water across the country.

“It was a pastor doing it who was in the water treatment business,” Tom says. “I knew his company, and I thought it was amazing.”

As he looked at the organization’s work even more on the trip, he became even more impressed by the work it was doing.

“I’m a pastor, and I’m a water guy, so I went and looked at his installations and was amazed that this work was being done,” Tom says. “I was convicted that our company should be doing it.”

As he headed back to Illinois, he began to think about how he could help be part of solving the problem and, beyond that, how HOH could be part of ending the global water crisis.

Running to make a difference

Fast forward to the spring of 2014, Reid’s Mission Church community had a few people who were starting a group to run the Chicago Marathon together with Team World Vision while fundraising to help provide clean water to families in Africa. Reid had run a marathon before, so he was intrigued, and a chat over pizza seemed like a good idea.

“I hadn’t heard much about the clean water crisis, but I did it to be part of the community and be part of the cause together,” he says. “I had a powerful experience both training and fundraising.”

In 2015, he again signed up, and that year, through training, he became inspired to sponsor a boy named Alfred in Uganda. His church collectively sponsored children from the same community and visited to meet their sponsored children later in the year.

“My wife and I traveled there together with our church community, and we were completely sold out and bought into the way that World Vision was making an impact and transforming lives through clean water and through the change initiatives in developing communities,” Reid says.

On that trip, someone from Team World Vision shared the idea of Reid running the Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa and raising 56 child sponsorships in Alfred’s community to represent the 56 miles he would run.

“Seeing the work at hand locally, I just felt convicted and compelled to do more,” Reid says.

He trained and fundraised, and later that year ran the race. Although he fell 13 miles short of completing the race, he did successfully complete the sponsorship goal of 56 children sponsored. After the event, he again visited Alfred and his community in Uganda.

Reid Hutchinson poses with his sponsored child, Alfred, when he visited him in Uganda in 2016.
Reid Hutchinson poses with his sponsored child, Alfred, when he visited him in Uganda in 2016 after running the Comrades ultramarathon in South Africa. It was the second time they visited, and Reid has a vision that his sponsorship will help Alfred grow up to be a leader in his community. (Photo courtesy of Reid Hutchinson)

“I shared with him that I sponsor him because I care about him and that others in his community are sponsored because of this race and this work,” Reid says. “I have this dream that this would lead to long-term transformation in this community.”

Reid is excited to see the lasting impact sponsorship will make and how sponsoring Alfred could equally lead to lasting change.

“I had a vision for him and realized that I may never see him again, but the investment I’m making in his life may result in him becoming a leader in his community and him participating in helping transform it into a healthier place,” Reid says. “I love that about the child sponsorship program — they reach kids because they’re the source of new life for a community, and it’s not just a five-year thing. It’s a 10- to 20-year thing.”

A collective vision arises

As Reid’s running path was unfolding, he was also having conversations with Tom and asking questions about his dad’s experience in 2012. The two were searching for ways to integrate their shared desire to end the global water crisis with their work at HOH.

Through Reid’s involvement with Team World Vision, he had learned about the Global 6K for Water. He thought the event could be a great way to engage HOH employees.

“It’s an amazing way to get people to that first step, which is awareness of the issue, and, secondly, to feel like they’re part of doing something about it,” Reid says.

Tom agreed, so in 2017, HOH made a $25,000 donation on behalf of its employees and encouraged people to come and walk the 6K at the World Vision-hosted site in Chicago. Six kilometers is the average distance children and families in the developing world walk for access to water. Forty people joined Reid and Tom in making that walk. Reid remembers how excited people were but also how surprised so many people were as they learned about the global water crisis. Additionally, the event helped the organization.

“It was a difficult season for our business that summer — a lot of turmoil and a lot of instability, and people were nervous,” Tom says. “I remember it just really brought our company together, and that was really important and helped during that particular time. We understood that we were part of something bigger than just doing our day-to-day jobs.”

A passion gives way

After the first year, people became even more excited about the Global 6K, and Tom and Reid wanted to extend participation beyond their Chicago-area office for 2018. So last year, their five satellite offices served as Global 6K host sites, and their Palatine staff participated in the larger site hosted by World Vision in Chicago.

“There was a sense of unity around us giving back together as one company,” Reid says. “We’re on a journey of helping employees and people in our network adopt this mission as their own to make a lasting impact with water.”

Last year, HOH made a $30,000 donation to help fund clean water projects, and their participation grew as 140 people came out to participate in the Global 6K for Water.

“What I love seeing is a family with kids walking, and people connecting the dots that it’s kids just like their own who are walking 6 kilometers a day for water, and it keeps them from being in school,” Reid says.

HOH also began reaching out to its network and inviting vendors, customers, and partners into their new passion as well.

“There are a lot of organizations that desire to make the world a better place,” Tom says. “There’s a really good business reason to connect with those people.”

He encourages other business leaders to use their positions for good and invite others in their network to participate in the Global 6K. Additionally, as a business, being part of something like the Global 6K helps with recruiting quality employees.

“As we compete for talented people who want to join the organization, we’re aware that as we create this kind of culture, especially the younger generation, they’re going to say, ‘I want to be part of that too,’ and it will help us attract the right kind of people.”

As HOH prepares for the 2019 Global 6K for Water on May 4, Tom and Reid are hoping to have 250 people involved this year across their five host sites and Chicago participation.

“Jesus Christ is the living water, and we’re called to deliver water to a thirsty world, and I do that because I’m a Christian, and that’s my reason,” Tom says. “What I’d love is that they do this as part of the company, so we’re one team doing this.

“If I had a vision, I’d love for people to make this their own.”

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How’d they do that: Transforming lives like Cheru’s through clean water

The story of 5-year-old Cheru, whose daily life in Kenya was consumed with finding water, has inspired thousands of people around the world to walk or run World Vision’s Global 6K for Water. Cheru’s lack of clean water and sanitation made her sick, threatened her education, and limited her family’s income. Today, thanks to caring donors, Cheru, her family, and neighbors have clean water and so much more.

World Vision staff and community volunteers worked together to bring water from a pure mountain spring to Cheru’s village 16 kilometers away. Here’s how they transformed their lives through clean water:

Clean water comes to semi-arid West Pokot County, Kenya. World Vision staff and volunteers inspect the intake dam that diverts water from the Kwok River to feed a gravity water system for three villages in West Pokot County, Kenya. World Vision organized the three communities to build a gravity-fed water system.

World Vision staff and volunteers inspect the intake dam that diverts water from the Kwok River to feed a gravity water system for three villages in West Pokot County, Kenya. The county water ministry constructed the dam some years before, but the water project was abandoned before completion. World Vision organized the three communities to restart the project. An environmental impact assessment shows the water quality is excellent and the flow plentiful year-round, says Charles Kakiti, World Vision water engineer, second from left. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Kesot water project in West Pokot County, Kenya, brings water to Cheru’s village. Led by skilled contractors, local workers lay pipes to transport clean water to more than 1,000 households and their livestock. They clear brush, dig trenches, and carry sand, rocks, and other materials. The pipeline traverses 16 kilometers (nearly 10 miles) of often difficult terrain.

Led by skilled contractors, local workers lay pipes to transport clean water to more than 1,000 households and their livestock. They clear brush, dig trenches, and carry sand, rocks, and other materials. The pipeline traverses 16 kilometers (nearly 10 miles) of often difficult terrain. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Water committee members stand and pray during their meeting on the grounds of the Chepolet Primary School where they discussed progress of the Sook Cheru water project. The 15-member committee represents Kesot, Chepolet, and Chemwapit, communities that have water kiosks and other water and sanitation infrastructure. Committee members are learning to manage the pipeline and to promote good hygiene practices, including using latrines.

Water committee members pray during a meeting. They credit God with the blessings that have come to them with clean water. Each of the three participating villages elected five committee members to represent them on the committee. Community members were involved in every aspect of the design and construction of the pipeline, from the location of water kiosks to user fees. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Cheru and other children stop on their way to school to watch repairs being made to the water pipeline. A heavy rain the day before had uncovered and damaged some sections. Six locals have been trained to monitor and maintain the 16-km World Vision pipeline that brings water to the dry lowlands from a year-round mountain spring.

Children stop on the way to school to watch local technicians repair a break in the pipeline caused by a flash flood. The workers and volunteers along the route monitor the pipeline daily so repairs can be made quickly to keep the water flowing. When the under story of plants has regrown in a few years, they will protect the pipeline from washouts.  (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

People get clean drinking water from the water kiosk next to the Chemwapit marketplace. On market day, the water kiosk and trough in Chemwapit are busy with people and animals, many of whom walked for hours to reach the weekly marketplace. World Vision’s Sook water project brought clean water and latrines to nearby Chemwapit Primary School, too.

The weekly market at Chemwapit has grown and is held year-round now that there is a water kiosk nearby. Vendors have opened restaurants and tea shops and the county water department built toilets. The livestock market has expanded because there’s a water trough for animals. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Cheru and schoolmates look at the school's water tank. At Kesot Primary School, clean water is stored in a 50-cubic-meter masonry storage tank. Before World Vision’s water project brought clean water to the school, the children carried water to school each morning. Sometimes they missed school and often they came late because they had to carry water to their homes. World Vision’s Sook area water project includes boys’ and girls’ latrines and handwashing stations, as well as a standpipe with two water taps at primary schools in Kesot, Chepolet and Chemwapit communities. Now that boys and girls have clean water and better latrines at their schools, they are learning about the importance of sanitation and hygiene.

Water is stored in 50-cubic-meter tanks at each of the three schools. Children at Kesot Primary School watch water technicians repair a leak between the tank and a standpipe. With water stored in tanks and kiosks along the length of the pipeline, people are able to access water even while sections of pipe are isolated for repairs.  (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Cheru and her classmates at Kesot Primary School benefit from four-unit girls’ and boys’ latrines including a handicapped latrine and a handwashing station for each toilet block. World Vision’s Cheru Community Water Project includes similar toilet facilities at primary schools in Chepolet and Chemwapit communities. Now that boys and girls have clean water and better latrines at their schools, they are learning about the importance of sanitation and hygiene.

Cheru, left, and her older sister, Dina, run to the girls’ latrine at Kesot Primary School. Now that schools have sinks for handwashing and boys’ and girls’ toilets, students are learning about cleanliness and hygiene and taking those lessons home to share with their families. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

At the Kesot Dispensary, community health volunteer John Komintany, 39, examines Cheru, who has a cold, with her mother Monica, and baby brother, Sote. World Vision’s water project has brought water nearby the nurses’ residence and to a water tap inside the dispensary

Cheru and her mother, Monica, visit the Kesot health center. A standpipe and toilets are important additions to the health center for both patients and staff. Previously, patients had to bring their own water. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

People get clean drinking water from a kiosk at Chepolet in World Vision’s Cheru Community Water Project water project. The project brought clean water and latrines to nearby Chemwapit Primary School, too, plus to five other kiosks, schools and the health clinic.

Clean, plentiful water is available close by for everyone in who lives along the pipeline. Fetching water was once a daily struggle, but now people can prioritize health, education, and income activities. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Clean water comes to semi-arid West Pokot County, Kenya. Children watch in amazement as grownups dance, sing, and play childhood games at a celebration of the coming of water to their community.

Children look on in amazement as adults play childhood games and sing during a celebration for the opening of the pipeline. “We’re happy; the animals are happy, even the birds are happy!” says Cheru’s father, Samson. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

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Cheru’s Kenyan community is awash in hope after receiving clean water

In Kesot village in Kenya, as in so many other places in sub-Saharan Africa, people used to struggle every day to get water — any water. Even at 5 years old, Cheru Lotuliapus not only understood this struggle, she lived it.

Each morning, Cheru walked nearly two hours and then dug for water in a dry riverbed, competing with thirsty goats and camels.

Without clean water, life was difficult. She and her siblings were sometimes too sick or tired to go to school. The local church frequently sat empty.

But life has changed for Cheru, now 6. With World Vision’s help, her community built a pipeline that brings clean water down from a mountain spring.

Around the world, more communities like Cheru’s are awash in hope. World Vision is reaching one new person every 10 seconds and three more schools every day with clean water.

 

Morning dawns on the steep, densely wooded hillside where crystal-clear water bubbles from a spring. Sixteen kilometers (nearly 10 miles) away in the lowlands, Cheru fills her cup with that same cool water as it flows from the spigot near her home.

“This water tastes good,” she says.

She holds her 7-month-old brother, Sote, while their mother, Monica, stitches the pocket on her yellow school shirt. Cheru helps her mother with the laundry, dishes, and baby-sitting, but the one chore she doesn’t do anymore is carry water. With a water kiosk just a few steps away, it’s easy enough for Monica to keep jerrycans full of clean water on her doorstep.

“I like to help, and I like to be clean,” says Cheru, handing back the baby and putting on her freshly-laundered shirt. Neatly dressed and with her face washed, Cheru eagerly joins a troop of children on their way to school. Holding hands and skipping, they set out on the 2-kilometer walk.

Cheru’s father, Samson, watches proudly as the children head down the dirt road. He already sees a better future for them. “We’ve had water for a month, and it’s brought us great peace,” he says. “We have time and energy for other things.”

Cheru, 6, walks with other children to Kesot Primary School, 2 km from her home, often holding hands with the other children. Before World Vision’s water project brought clean water near to their homes, the children were tired from walking 6 km each day and carrying water to school each morning and to their homes in the afternoon. Sometimes they missed school and often they came late because they had to carry water. Now that clean, safe water is right at their doorstep, they have more time and energy for schoolwork and play. A neighbor, Rael, says that since they got water, “these children are cleaner, healthier, and smarter in school.”
Cheru and her friends walk to Kesot Primary School. Now that they have clean water, they no longer have to gather water to and from school. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

An open door for education

Access to clean water means that Cheru — healthy, clean, and rested — can consistently attend school. Once she arrives at Kesot Primary School, she’s welcomed by head teacher John Dungo, 34.

He’s noticed that with clean water also available at the three primary schools along the pipeline, many more students like Cheru are coming regularly — and classes are overflowing. John says that they’re building new classrooms to accommodate the influx in attendance.

When class begins, Cheru is quick to raise her hand to answer questions and shouts “one, two, three …” when the class counts in English.

“I love school,” she says. Writing and drawing are her favorite subjects.

The three primary schools now have water tanks, standpipes with two spigots, and four latrines each for boys and girls, including an accessible unit for children who are disabled. Outside the latrines are sinks with running water for handwashing. It’s the first year Cheru and her classmates have clean, plentiful water at school. They are also beginning to learn about hygiene and health.

The head teachers of the three primary schools received hygiene training and materials from World Vision and organized hygiene and sanitation clubs for their students. They also host community meetings where adults learn about the importance of keeping clean and building and using family toilets.

“Children who know and practice good hygiene are excellent advocates with their parents,” says Clement Limaki, 45, head teacher at nearby Chepolet Primary School.

West Pokot Kenya, Cheru water project. Whether wet or dry, road access is difficult – and impossible in places – over the 16-km length of the Sook water project pipeline that brought water to Cheru’s village. World Vision drivers face severe road conditions, including clouds of dust over eroded, rutted tracks, falling rocks, and flash floods in rivers and streams that block the way.
Whether wet or dry, road access is difficult — and impossible in places — over the 16-kilometer pipeline that brought water to Cheru’s village. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Water flows from the mountaintop

Charles Kakiti, a World Vision water engineer, was discouraged by his first sight of the dry, barren land and struggling people. The West Pokot  county water department had started a water project here some years back. They tapped a water source and began laying a pipeline. However, the project ran into financial trouble, and clean water never flowed.

“It wasn’t easy to get water to this dry place,” says Charles. The road was so bad that it seemed impossible to finish the project.  However, when he saw clean water gushing from a spring in the hills, his attitude changed.

“God has blessed this place with everything that’s needed for people and animals to live a good life,” he says. But it would take organization, cooperation, hard work, and perseverance to bring water down from the mountaintop.

Charles and Abu Lokilimak, a World Vision project manager, began the project in faith and uplifted in prayer. They organized the water committee with five representatives each from Chepolet, Chemwapit, and Kesot — the three communities along the pipeline. Kesot chose Cheru’s father, Samson, as one of their water committee members. The three head teachers are also members of the committee.

Another member, Anna Lokitwol, 36, says she prayed for the water project and for it to be sustainable. “To have this water is a great gift, and we must take care of it. Also, I pray for the people who gave money so we could have water,” she says.

Anna proposed that each family pay 100 shillings (about $1) a month and schools pay 500 shillings (nearly $5) a month for upkeep to the water system so there will always be money for repairs.

Together, the water committee decided the placement of the kiosks, standpipes, and water troughs for animals. Over 18 months,  community members dug trenches, carried pipes, and connected them. They hauled cement and carried water for making concrete to build the kiosks, standpipes, water troughs for the animals, and latrines at the schools. Charles trained six local people to maintain the pipeline and handle repairs.

The day before the water was scheduled to come to the kiosk at Kesot, the end of the pipeline, Abu and Charles double-checked all the connections. They spent a sleepless night trying to doze in the truck — worrying, waiting, and praying that everything would work right the next morning.

Monica, Cheru’s mother, leads a procession of villagers to the Kesot water kiosk. They’re celebrating the new water system with songs, dances, and games. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Blessings overflow

As morning dawned on the momentous day, Cheru was right up front — eyes bright with amazement as the clean water flowed. She watched her father be the first to fill a glass and drink from it as everyone cheered.

Cheru’s mother recalls the exhilaration surrounding the scene. “That day when the water first came, we ran to our houses and brought jerrycans to fetch the water because we thought the water would get finished,” says Monica. “But seeing the water the next day, I went to my neighbors and I told them: ‘You all come and fetch, and bring your clothes to wash. The water is not getting finished.’”

With water close at hand, families can prioritize other critical areas in their lives: health, education, and income. Monica’s mind is brimming with new ideas. She wants to grow a vegetable garden and start a business selling clothes and sugar. Cheru dreams of becoming a doctor.

As a water committee member, Samson’s top priorities are toilets and bathing facilities. “This will change everything,” he says. “We have a toilet now. All the water committee members are going to have them, and we’ll see that others do too.”

With his arms around Cheru, Samson praises God for the joy that has come to his family because of clean water. “We’re happy. The animals are happy. Even the birds are happy,” he says, breaking into a wide grin.

Cheru (wearing blue skirt and red shirt) and other children decorate the Africa Gospel Church in Kesot before Sunday morning services, and sprinkle water on the dirt to keep down the dust. Since piped water came to Kesot community, church members repaired the finish on the church’s mud exterior. Next they plan to replace the dirt floor with concrete. Before World Vision’s water project brought clean water close to their homes, families sometimes came to church late, dirty, and tired from carrying water, says Pastor Solomon Kapel, 25. Now they are pouring new energy and enthusiasm into their church.
Children, including Cheru (in orange), come early to decorate the church. Before World Vision’s water project brought clean water close to their homes, families sometimes came to church late, dirty, and tired from carrying water. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Rejoicing in God’s bounty

On Sunday, when Cheru hears Pastor Solomon Kapel beating his drum, she excitedly runs to find him. She wants to be the first in line to help him cut flowers and branches to decorate the church before the service begins.

As the congregation gathers, women place jerrycans of water by the door so anyone can get a drink when they’re thirsty. Then they sprinkle the dirt floor with water so they won’t kick up dust when they dance and sing.

The church overflows with worshippers, children and adults alike dressed in their best. Cheru loves church. She joins in wholeheartedly to sing, dance, and praise the Lord.

“Water has changed everything here for the better,” says Solomon. “We praise God for it.”

He is deeply moved at the blessings that have come with clean water. Without hesitation, the congregation hauled water and applied a new mud finish to the church exterior. They’re saving money for sacks of cement so they can have a concrete floor. Monica and other mothers want to start a childcare center at the church; Samson says they need to build a latrine; and there’s even talk of building a house for Solomon, since he currently lives 7 kilometers (over 4 miles) away.

Solomon says, “Just like in the Bible where God gave his people water from the rock, this water system is a blessing from God.”

When the children’s choir comes forward, Cheru proudly stands in the front row — her clean face beaming. She sings and claps with joy.

For Cheru, it’s a refreshing new day.

Children in Kesot village do handstands, Cheru and her friends do handstands, joined by Charles Kakiti, World Vision water engineer. Touched by the donors who funded the Kesot water project, Charles ran the Global 6K to bring water to children in other parts of the world.
Children in Kesot village do handstands, joined by Charles Kakiti, a World Vision water engineer. Charles wears his Global 6K for Water T-shirt. Touched by the generosity of donors who funded the Kesot water project, he ran the Global 6K to help bring clean water to children in other parts of the world. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

How you can help children like Cheru

  • Learn more about clean water and how you can be part of the movement to end the global water crisis by 2030.
  • Join us in praying that more and more communities would have clean water access, and thank God for the access to clean water gained by this community.
  • Walk or run the Global 6K for Water on May 4, 2019, to provide life-changing clean water to one person in need. You’ll walk or run with the picture of the child receiving clean water through World Vision’s water projects.
  • Give a monthly gift to provide clean water to communities lacking it. Your ongoing gift creates lasting change in a community.

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Walk for water: Your 6K vs. theirs

Every day, women and girls spend 200 million hours walking to collect water for their families. That’s 8.3 million days. More than 22,800 years. It’s hard to get your head around numbers that large, so start instead with 6K.

The “K” stands for kilometer. 6K, a little more than 3.7 miles, is the average distance round trip women and children in the developing world walk for water — water that is often contaminated with life-threatening diseases.

How far is 6K?

  • 15 laps around a football field
  • Twice the length of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. — from the Lincoln Memorial to the steps of the U.S. Capitol and back again
  • Five times the number of steps to climb the Empire State Building

You could do that, right? (Well, maybe not the climbing part; that would be hard.)

You could probably walk 6K in an hour and 15 minutes. On a flat, smooth sidewalk, most people can walk a mile in 17 to 20 minutes. At a brisk walk, you could shave off the 15 minutes. If you’re a runner, you could cover the distance in half that time.

Easy peasy.

The walk for water in sub-Saharan Africa

But that’s not how it’s done in sub-Saharan Africa. There, people don’t have access to an improved water source. Moms and daughters walk their 6K barefoot or in rubber sandals to collect water from polluted rivers and ponds. More than 3 million girls and nearly 14 million women walk more than 30 minutes to collect water. And they often make that trip more than once a day!

Maybe they climb up steep hills or over rocks, slide down a steep gully, or circle around thorn trees. There may be snakes and bees or people who want to rob them — or worse — lying in wait along the way.

On the way home from the water source, it’s even harder.

You know what it’s like to carry a gallon of milk from the car to the kitchen counter? Try a gallon in each hand at 8.6 pounds each, and the total weight is less than half the 44 pounds an African woman carries on her head in a 20-liter jerry can. You see, carrying water is not just difficult, it’s a lifelong pain in the neck or back that sometimes causes serious health problems.

But would that 20-liter jerry can be enough water for your family to drink, cook, bathe, and wash for a day? No way. Fifteen liters a day is considered a bare minimum water supply for only one person. You might have to walk to the waterhole many times a day for more than that. Knowing that puts those 200 million hours in perspective, doesn’t it?

How you can help end the global water crisis

So now that you know more about the walk for water of people in sub-Saharan Africa and many other developing countries around the world, what can you do about it?

Join others to walk or run World Vision’s Global 6K for Water on Saturday, May 4, 2019, so that one more person will enjoy life-changing clean water without having to walk 6K for it. Your $50 registration benefits World Vision’s water initiatives. You’ll receive a World Vision Global 6K for Water T-shirt, race bib with the face of a child you’re running for (hint: you can continue the relationship with the child on your bib by sponsoring them), and medal in the mail. Map out a route in your neighborhood or attend a larger gathering at a host site. Sign up here.

Want to learn more? Read what Melinda Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says about the “time poverty” experienced by women and girls in the developing world because of time-consuming tasks like carrying water and collecting firewood.

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Kansas school unites community as Global 6K for Water host site

Mendy Burnett and Kim Swader like to make things happen. They like it even more when their community comes together to make things happen for a cause dear to their hearts.

They have organized World Vision’s Global 6K for Water at their kids’ school, Chanute Christian Academy in Chanute, Kansas, every year since 2017. As host site leaders, Mendy, a teacher and mother of three, and Kim, a stay-at-home mother of four, tackle lots of moving parts. Promoting the event at school assemblies, organizing teams of volunteers, laying out the 6K course, and coaching participants to fundraise for clean water can take a lot of time and effort.

But they have turned it into a community-wide team-building exercise. In fact, they have used the opportunity not only to raise support for World Vision’s clean water work around the world but to galvanize students, their families, and the whole community for a cause greater than themselves.

“Regardless of background, it was a community-building event,” Mendy says. “It was a moment for the community to come together and do something substantial.”

The two friends explain what led them and their school to sign up as a Global 6K host site.

Willing to serve

The year before — 2016 — was a difficult year, personally, Mendy says. She wasn’t even thinking about organizing a complex community event.

But that Christmas, something changed in her heart. She was reminded of Mary’s response to the angel telling her she would be the mother of Jesus. “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be as you said,” Mendy remembers, citing Luke 1:38 in the Bible. Mary’s humility hit her deeply, and she took it to heart.

Chanute, a town of about 10,000 people, experienced a mini water crisis soon after Christmas in early 2017. Most of their county was on a boil order and even went without water at times. In the midst of having to boil her family’s household water, Mendy came across World Vision’s Global 6K for Water event on Pinterest. She was driven by a new desire to use her skills to help others however she could. She decided to approach her kids’ school, Chanute Christian, about hosting it. Longtime friend and fellow school mom, Kim, enthusiastically jumped in to support the effort.

It would be a great opportunity to bring the whole community together to bring clean water to children in need around the world.

Mendy set the smallest goal she could think of — 10 people. If only her family turned out, that would be okay, she says. But during the planning process, her World Vision coach encouraged her and other host site leaders to set “God-sized” goals, Mendy says. Registrations at their host site had not yet hit 100 when, one day, she wrote a goal of 150 participants on a whiteboard at home. She quickly erased it. But when the day of the event came, she and Kim counted 152 people. She couldn’t help but wonder if there was a bigger plan unfolding for Chanute Christian and the broader community.

“This was God going, ‘Hey, if I’m giving you something, I’m perfectly capable of doing it,’” Mendy says.

The next year, the event grew to more than 300 participants in 2018. This time it consisted not only of students from Chanute Christian, but students and athletes from most of the town’s public schools, about 10 churches, and even international students from the local community college. They ranged in age from 3 to 72.

They say it takes work, but you can’t help but want to make the Global 6K for Water as big a deal for your community as possible.

“It’s kind of like your wedding day. You plan, plan, plan so that when the moment comes, you can enjoy it,” Kim says. “If you plan enough ahead, you can just enjoy it the day of.”

In 2019, Mendy and Kim aim to get 500 participants to raise $15,000 for clean water.

A local water crisis in a small Kansas town sparked a teacher’s interest in bringing her community together as a World Vision Global 6K for Water host site.
Participants place orange dots on the countries where the child on their race bib lives during the World Vision Global 6K for Water event May 19, 2018, at Chanute Christian Academy in Chanute, Kansas. More than 300 students and families from the private school, local public schools, and 10 churches participated in the event. (Photo courtesy of Mendy Burnett)

Encouragement for others

Hosting a Global 6K for Water is a win on so many levels, Kim and Mendy say. Anyone can participate or help host the event, no matter their interests or abilities. Families come together for a morning — babies walk alongside grandmas. Flags from around the world line the course. People cheer each other on.

“Southeast Kansas is not a very global place,” Mendy says. “Most kids at the school have not been out of the country. So, to line the route with flags reminds us there is a world out there.”

Thinking of others who might be interested in hosting their own World Vision 6K for Water this year, Kim and Mendy say it takes work, but it’s an opportunity to involve people from all backgrounds. Volunteers really make it happen.

“Don’t get discouraged when people don’t sign up right away,” Mendy says. “I have trouble asking for things. But when it comes to this event, I feel so strongly about it that when people say they want to sign up, I have no problem reminding them to do it. It’s not only good for the child on your bib, but it’s good for you and your family.”

Providing access to clean water for someone is worth the effort in itself, they say. But being able to sponsor the child on your bib gives each participant an opportunity to make a deeper connection with someone around the world.

“The biggest thing was seeing the individual life that you will change,” Mendy says. “The millions of people who don’t have water is such an unfathomable number. But to know that I can personally see the face, that it’s a real person, and I can change their life, it makes the world feel so small.”

Kim agrees.

“One of my kids’ favorite takeaways is forming relationships through sponsorship,” she said. “They write letters and pray for their child. They form a connection and a bond and know that that’s another child God loves.”

Kim and Mendy revel in the impact each person makes by hosting or participating in the Global 6K for Water.

“This is an impact that (my kids) can look back and say, ‘I played a part in ending the world water crisis,’” Mendy says.

Learn more about how to host your own Global 6K site.

The post Kansas school unites community as Global 6K for Water host site appeared first on World Vision.

Beating cancer while running a marathon

In 2017, a baldheaded woman crossed the finish line of the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon. She kicked her leg up in triumph. That woman was Wendy Eckman. The road to that line had been full of unexpected twists and turns. She says, “This event … literally saved my life.”

It all started back in 2016 when the now 56-year-old decided she wanted to run the Seattle Rock n Roll marathon. She laughs, “I hate running. It didn’t make any sense to me that I was contemplating doing something as stupid as a marathon.”

But some people at her church had decided to run the marathon as part of Team World Vision to raise money for clean water for children in Africa “Blame that on FOMO (fear of missing out),” says Wendy. “All the cool people at church were doing it.”

Wendy knew she could do the fundraising for the clean water, so she signed up and began training. But not too far into the training, she injured her knee and opted to run the half-marathon instead.

She wasn’t finished with running though. She says, “That seed of running the marathon grew roots over the year.”

Fruit in the midst of thorns

When training started in 2017, Wendy went all in. This would be her year to get healthy; plus, she was doing good while getting healthy so that felt great. By March, she’d dropped 25 pounds and drastically lowered her cholesterol. Then a friend told her that getting a mammogram should be a part of her health regime. Wendy had always put off going to the doctor, but in her new health-oriented mindset, she agreed.

First came a callback to get another mammogram so the doctors could get another look. No big deal, she thought. Callbacks happen all the time. Plus, she was gearing up for a 14-mile training run on Saturday. But then she got another callback. This time, the doctors wanted to do a biopsy. That meant she’d miss this first long run.

That Monday she received her cancer diagnosis. But the doctors felt they’d caught it early enough to avoid chemo. “I thought it would be an inconvenience,” says Wendy. Then she could get back to the training.

But the news that came kept getting worse and worse. The cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. Now she faced both radiation and chemotherapy. Wendy felt angry and confused. Why would things have gone so well for three months only to have it all fall apart now?

“It made no sense to me that I was told to do a marathon and not be able to do the marathon,” says Wendy. She wrestled with her anger. But then she felt God say to her: “I did not tell you that you were going to complete the marathon. I told you to train.”

Then Wendy realized that the reason God told her to train was to catch the cancer — to save her life. She says, “I knew right away the reason I was training was to be able to catch this. It all just made sense.” Wendy felt the pressure leave her, and yet, she also felt determined to run the marathon. It was almost as if being told that she couldn’t only strengthened her resolve.

She continued with her training, but the chemo treatment schedules never allowed her to complete one of the long runs. She didn’t know if she would be able to run a marathon. Despite the physical setbacks, her faith and spirit strengthened during this time.

A big reason why

She lives in North Bend, Washington, which is a rural part of the state. She ran beside creeks and listened to music as she spent this training time alone with God. She had time to ponder raising money for clean water for African children.

“What got stuck in [my mind] was the unsafe part of the gathering of water. That really struck home. The fact that we can just get water and not have to spend an entire day of danger to drink a glass of water,” Wendy says. “That yearning just got deeper and deeper — the horrors and atrocities of dirty water for kids. [I have] two granddaughters and a daughter — to think of them having to walk through the jungle to collect dirty water.”

She prayed. And with the approval of her oncologist, she ran the marathon after her first two rounds of chemo and before her radiation. She mapped out various places in the race that she could exit the race if needed, but when the day came, she felt strong.

When she crossed the finish line, “I was elated,” she says. “I did it. I was right. I knew I wasn’t being led down a bad path. God didn’t let me do something to be mean.”

God’s sense of humor

Last year, Wendy did the race again because this time, she was healthy. She’d beat cancer. But she found it harder than the year before. She underestimated the amount of recovery time she needed after chemo and radiation. She thought about quitting halfway through, but then she remembered her 10- and 12-year-old granddaughters who had made encouraging signs for her. They’d missed seeing her at the halfway point. Wendy knew she had to go on for them. She walked the last 13 miles as quickly as she could.

And she’s not done yet. This year, she and her 12-year-old granddaughter, Kathrynn — whom she calls Lulu — are running World Vision’s Global 6K for Water together in preparation for another marathon. Wendy’s thinking about running with Team World Vision again in the Chicago marathon.

She challenges others who are thinking about doing World Vision’s Global 6K or a half or full marathon. “I double-dog dare you,” she laughs. Then more seriously she adds, “If there’s a notion of curiosity, then someone’s planted a seed.” She says that if you can walk 20 minutes a day, then you can do it.

God took a woman with a fear of missing out on something fun, led her to train for a marathon, and saved her life in the process. Wendy says, “That proves that God has a sense of humor. He will use what he needs to use to get you to do what he wants you to do.”

And that thing that he led Wendy Eckman and thousands of other Team World Vision volunteers to do has meant easy access to clean water for thousands of people in Africa.

The post Beating cancer while running a marathon appeared first on World Vision.

Global 6K participants walk for water

World Vision’s Global 6K for Water is a one-day event where people from all over the world walk or run 6 kilometers in their own neighborhoods to bring lasting clean water to children in need. Why a 6K? It’s the average round trip distance women and children in the developing world walk for water — water that is often contaminated with life-threatening diseases. Every step you take is one they won’t have to.

When you sign up to walk or run the 6K on Saturday, May 4, 2019, you’ll provide life-changing clean water to one person! We’ll then send you a race kit with everything you need to walk or run your 6K, including a unique race bib with the picture of a child receiving clean water from World Vision’s water projects, a T-shirt, and a medal. After the 6K, you can even continue the relationship with the child on your bib by becoming their sponsor.

Check out what people like you have to say about how easy and impactful it is to walk or run the Global 6K for Water:

Walk or run in the Global 6K for Water May 4, 2019. Every step you take is one they won’t have to.

Nicole Wetmore walks the Global 6K for Water in Placerville, California. Nicole is the host site leader for Green Valley Community’s Church’s participation in the 6K event and subsequent Celebration Sunday.
Nicole Wetmore (back, center) walks the Global 6K for Water in Placerville, California. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger)

An unforgettable moment for a California pastor

By Heather Klinger
Published April 16, 2019

What are the unforgettable moments in your life? It could have been when you drove a car for the first time or got your first paycheck. Or when your favorite sports team won a game or even a championship. What about marrying the love of your life or holding your baby in your arms for the first time? Or that moment when you realized how much the people in your life love you?

For 44-year-old Nicole Wetmore, meeting her sponsored child, 5-year-old Grace, in Uganda became one of her unforgettable moments.

“Just when you feel your heart is full and you can’t take in another thing because you’ve had so many great experiences, or you’ve learned so much, God has a way of breaking your heart again, but in the best possible way,” says Nicole, the local and global missions pastor at Green Valley Community Church in Placerville, California. “It’s a glimpse of allowing us to feel the love he has for people and the way his heart breaks when he sees his people hurting and in need.”

Her unforgettable moment wouldn’t have been possible without the Global 6K for Water. Back in May 2018, the second year Nicole served as Green Valley’s Global 6K host site leader, her race bib featured Grace. Read more >>

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In 2017, Wendy Eckman ran the Seattle Rock n Roll marathon as part of Team World Vision to raise money for clean water in Africa. She ran in between her chemo appointments and finished strong!
Wendy Eckman celebrates after running the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon as part of Team World Vision to raise money for clean water in Africa. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Andrea Peer)

‘I double-dog dare you’

By Laura Reinhardt
Published Feb. 22, 2019

In 2017, a baldheaded woman crossed the finish line of the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon. She kicked her leg up in triumph. That woman was Wendy Eckman, and the road to that line had been full of unexpected twists and turns. She says, “This event … literally saved my life.”

This year, she and her 12-year-old granddaughter, Kathrynn — whom she calls Lulu — are running World Vision’s Global 6K for Water together in preparation for another marathon. Wendy’s thinking about running with Team World Vision again in the Chicago marathon.

She challenges others who are thinking about doing World Vision’s Global 6K or a half or full marathon. “I double-dog dare you,” she laughs. Then more seriously she adds, “If there’s a notion of curiosity, then someone’s planted a seed.” She says that if you can walk 20 minutes a day, then you can do it.

God took a woman with a fear of missing out on something fun, led her to train for a marathon, and saved her life in the process. Wendy says, “That proves that God has a sense of humor. He will use what he needs to use to get you to do what he wants you to do.” Read more >>

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Judy Carlson, 71, walked the 2017 Global 6K for Water at her own pace — slow and steady, using her cane for support. Six kilometers is the average distance people in the developing world walk for water. Judy walked her 6K for 6-year-old Bintou from Mali. Who will you walk for?
Judy Carlson, 71, uses her cane for support while walking the Global 6K for Water with her friend Debbie Torres, 61, in Portage, Indiana. Team World Vision Manager Steve Spear doubled back on his bike after finishing his 6K run to walk alongside them. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger)

Global 6K for Water: ‘If she can do it, you can totally do it’

By Heather Klinger
Published May 2, 2018

The excitement was palpable on May 6, 2017, for families in Portage, Indiana. It wasn’t only World Vision’s Global 6K for Water at Real Life Community Church; it was the local high school’s much-anticipated prom night.

Students and parents alike were excited to complete the Global 6K but also excited to get on to hair appointments, picking up corsages, and getting ready for the big dance. So about an hour-and-a-half after the 6K began that morning, pastors and volunteers started to close the course that about 75 people had completed to expedite the clean-up process.

When a family — which volunteers thought were the final participants — came around the corner to cheers and the banging of cowbells, instead of first celebrating, they shouted to the crowd that Judy and Debbie were still on the course behind them. Suddenly everyone was in motion once again to restore the course.

Meanwhile, 71-year-old Judy Carlson was walking the Global 6K at her own pace — slowly and steadily using her cane for support. On her race bib was Bintou, 6, from Mali. Read more >>

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A woman kneels at the table after finishing a walk to bring clean water to people around the world. She is filling out a form to sponsor the child through World Vision.
Six months pregnant and having finished the 2017 Global 6K for Water in Seattle, Brittany Kukal kneels down to fill out a form to sponsor Innocent, a child in Malawi. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Andrea Peer)

Two children brought together by clean water and a mother’s love

By Phil Manzano
Published April 25, 2018

Brittany Kukal, 31, of Kirkland, Washington, kneeled down to fill out the form at the sponsorship table at last year’s Global 6K for Water at Gas Works Park in Seattle. She had been on her feet awhile having just finished a 6-kilometer loop and she was, after all, six months pregnant.

“I felt great. I felt empowered,” Brittany says. “I felt encouraged, and I felt like the Lord was really here today. It was wonderful.”

Around the globe, about 844 million people lack access to clean water, and people in the developing world walk an average of 6 kilometers to find water. Oftentimes, it’s women and children who make that walk, lugging heavy cans to bring back water that is likely impure and unsanitary.

A friend told Brittany about the Global 6K for Water last year and encouraged her to sign up. “I gave it a lot of thought, a lot of prayer. And being I’m six months pregnant, I thought it’s a great way to really engage and understand what these women and families go through,” she says.

And it was a way to make giving more personal, “to actually experience the walking and the process just makes it more real for you,” she says. Every $50 Global 6K for Water registration fee will provide clean water for one person.

But walking the 6K wasn’t without some concern, Brittany says; it was her first child and a high-risk pregnancy. But with her doctor’s approval and time spent praying, she moved full-speed ahead, wanting to empathize with mothers’ globally.

Brittany Kukal, with her medal and picture of her sponsored child after walking in the Global 6K for Water last year. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Andrea Peer)

As she walked, her race bib featured a boy from Malawi named Innocent. And it was Innocent she sponsored at the table that Saturday morning.

“I think as I bring my baby into the world and being able to provide for him — a lot of kids don’t get that,” she says. “I actually sponsored the kid I walked for today. That really means a lot to me because now we get to continue that relationship.”

Today, you could say that Brittany has two children: Leo, who was born after the Global 6K, is now 8 months old and Innocent in Malawi.

“I wanted to participate for all the right reasons,” she says. “It ended up being really good.”

Leo and Innocent are already linked in some way. “Honestly, I did it for my son,” Brittany says about sponsoring Innocent. “A lot of what I do now is for my son.” She shows Leo pictures of Innocent, and one day she hopes Leo will write to Innocent.

She will raise Leo alongside Innocent — who will open up not only other parts of the world to him but lessons in kindness and encouragement.

“If I can help another child in some way, it’ll set a good example for my son and also it helps me too — to feel more connected and to give me purpose,” she says.

Brittany has signed up to participate again in the Global 6K for Water May 19, 2018, at Gas Works Park — this time with little Leo in a stroller.

And she’s excited to be joining together with a group of mothers who are walking the Global 6K together.

We wanted a child for a long time, Brittany says. It changes your world and mindset. You really focus on what matters doing the 6K; it gives you an idea and glimpse into life.

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Mom and 7-year-old daughter sitting together wearing World Vision Global 6K for Water shirts.
Kari and Kamryn Thackrey, of Flora, Illinois, participated in the 2017 Global 6K for Water to help bring clean water to people who need it. This year, they’re inspiring their community to join them to increase their impact. (©2017 Genesis Photos/photo by Sean Loftin)

7-year-old girl leads Illinois community’s Global 6K for Water

By Chris Huber
Published Feb. 15, 2018

Carrying a tea kettle, 5-year-old Cheru walks more than 6 kilometers with her siblings to dig for water in a dry riverbed in Kenya. The water often makes them sick, but they have no other choice. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

The last thing 7-year-old Kamryn Thackrey sees before she goes to bed each night is a photo of Cheru, a 5-year-old girl from northern Kenya, holding a tea kettle full of dirty water on her head. Cheru looks tired from walking 6 kilometers with her siblings to collect water for their family to use for cooking, drinking, and bathing.

The photo inspires Kamryn and reminds her to pray for Cheru: that she would get access to clean water and not have to walk so far for it.

Kamryn and her family participated in the Global 6K for Water last year in their hometown of Flora, Illinois. The second-grader and her little sister, Abigail, spearheaded their effort to raise $1,200. That’s enough to help provide clean water to 24 people like Cheru.

“I was excited that I got to help kids not have to walk so far and that they could have clean water,” Kamryn says. “And I liked walking with my mom and dad and sister and brother.”

Kamryn’s journey with Cheru began early last spring. One day, her mom, Kari, was sorting through the mail and about to toss out the World Vision magazine, when the cover photo caught Kamryn’s eye. “Who is this?!” Kamryn asked.

When Kari took her over to the couch to read it together, Cheru’s story brought Kamryn to tears. Cheru was 5 in the photo, the same age as Abigail.

“Kamryn started crying and I said, ‘what’s wrong?’” Kari recounts. “She said, ‘I can’t imagine Abigail having to walk that far for water. That would be scary.’”

So Kamryn decided to do something about it. She and her family signed up for the 2017 Global 6K for Water. This was the first time they had done anything like this, but they knew it was the right thing to do. As they began fundraising and planning the race course, Kamryn shared Cheru’s story with her class, friends, family members, and kids at her church. She and Abigail made promotional fliers and posted a video on Facebook. Supportive parents and affirming comments on social media helped motivate the sisters to keep sharing Cheru’s story.

“We were losing-our-minds excited when money kept coming in,” Kari says.

The family charted their own 6K course and invited another family to join them.

“We enjoyed being able to do it just on our own, rather than drive to a big event, but knowing we were part of something bigger,” Kari says.

Kamryn is planning to host a bigger Global 6K event in her community and raise more money for water this year. Kari says they hope to rally a few more of Flora’s 5,000 residents to participate. “I want to try and do a big one at my church,” Kamryn says.

She began promoting this one before Christmas.

“Once she sets her mind to something, there is no swaying her in a different direction,” Kari says. “From the moment she read the first magazine about Cheru, we as a family were sold.”

Kamryn has been praying expectantly for Cheru since last spring. She recently learned that Cheru and her community will be getting access to clean water this year.

“Awesome,” Kamryn says matter-of-factly. “We will walk for other kids now.”

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8-year-old Luke Flowers used his birthday to give back by running World Vision's Global 6K for Water with his friends.
Not many 8-year-olds would use their birthday as an opportunity to give back, but last year, Luke ran World Vision’s 6K for Water with his friends. (©2017 Genesis Photo Agency/photo by Charlie Leight)

An 8-year-old spends his birthday running 6K for water

By Alissa Sandoval
Published March 23, 2017

Not many 8-year-olds would use their birthday as an opportunity to give back, but on March 19, 2016, Luke Flowers from Phoenix, Arizona did. Instead of the usual games and cake, his birthday party went the extra mile — an extra 3.7 miles, to be exact. He invited his entire school to join him in running the 6K for Water, and on race day, Luke and 10 of his best friends ran together and raised $1,755 for clean water in Africa.

“I decided to run because I thought it would be fun, and it was,” he says.

Luke encourages running the 6K with a group because not only is it more fun, but more runners equals more impact. He enjoys organizing friends and family to make a difference, and he loves knowing that this race will help change the lives of people who live without access to clean water.

Jessica Flowers, Luke’s mom, says Luke’s birthday was a way for him and other second graders to both celebrate and do something for others at the same time.

“This was a great way to introduce the kids to World Vision’s mission and give them a chance to give back,” she shared. “They were proud of themselves for running and proud of themselves for making a difference.

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Malinda doesn’t love running, but “getting clean water to people who need it is life and death,” she says. That's why she runs the Global 6K for Water.
Malinda doesn’t love running, but “getting clean water to people who need it is life and death,” she says. That’s why she runs the Global 6K for Water.

Following God’s call to run 6K for clean water

By Kristy J. O’Hara-Glaspie
Published March 23, 2017

Malinda Fugate has known about World Vision “for what feels like a zillion years.” The 33-year-old from Torrance, California, has sponsored a child since 2003, and when she used to work for a radio station, she partnered with World Vision several times. But when she moved into children’s ministry work at her church, Faith Presbyterian, in 2015, her relationship with World Vision began to change.

“We worked on a project where our younger kids could be hands-on, and we thought a fundraiser for clean water could be good to show them about the need for water,” she says. “We said, ‘Let’s walk the distance many children walk and have them carry the water.’”

The first year they did the 6K for Water, more than 50 people participated at a local park, even though “it was hotter in L.A. than it was in Kenya,” Malinda says.

Last year, her church partnered with another church, and more than 70 people joined the event. The 6K sparked questions in the children who participated. “Kids started thinking outside of the box,” she says, asking questions about children living in poverty.

The event also pushed Malinda to new places as she dealt with the pain of her divorce. “This past year especially has been a rocky one,” Malinda says. “God and my friends convinced me to do a half marathon to raise money with Team World Vision, and that’s been transformative. It’s not just time with God, but it’s also the discipline of running.”

This year she plans to run in the Global 6K for Water and another half marathon. And though she doesn’t love running like some Team World Vision members, “the bottom line is, getting clean water to people who need it is life and death.”

“When God calls you to do something, not being obedient is way more scary than obediently running a bunch of miles every morning,” she says. “Whenever you’re serving God, he changes you. That’s how he works.”

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Walk for water leads to Chicago woman’s healing

By Phil Manzano and Laura Blank
Published March 17, 2017

Iza Narciso had just completed World Vision’s 6K for water in Chicago last year — she was breathless, sweaty but full of joy: She had come full circle to get out of poverty.

Her post-race video interview captured a moment of profound healing for Iza, who grew up in Angola walking miles every day in search of water. Each step of the 6K in Chicago reminded her of her own struggle and the struggle of millions of women and children who walk for water.

“As a little girl, I was maybe 5, I would have to walk every single day to look for water. That was a reality for me,” Iza says. “I don’t remember how many miles, but I remember that we would try to find water wherever water was.”

When she found water, there were often crowds; people fought to fill their jugs before the source ran out. And walking back, while balancing a heavy jug on your head, other children would ask for water, “but you have to keep walking because your family is counting on you for this water.

“So you get home with a little bit of water,” Iza remembers, “and this water is just so precious. Every bit of it is counted.” She remembers long excruciating nights of going to sleep thirsty as her mother strictly rationed their water.

As young children, Iza and her sister fled civil war in Angola. A social worker at a refugee center in Belgium essentially adopted and raised them, she says. Iza came to the United States to study at Loyola University, receiving a degree in literature. She now owns a daycare in Chicago.

Last year, members of Team World Vision came to her church and spoke about the 6K for water event. Because of her past, she was intrigued and signed up. But she was unprepared for the emotional impact.

“All of those people, warming up early on a Saturday morning, getting ready to run 6K, 7, 8, 9. And emotionally my heart was getting bigger and bigger. I couldn’t really handle the emotions. I was trying to search — why am I feeling this way? Why is this becoming so overwhelming for me?

“And I realize, it was the meaning of what they were doing. Those people in Chicago were running for me. And I realized all this time I was in Africa suffering, didn’t have access to clean water; I realized I was not alone. That there was a team of people trying hard to get water to me. It just means so much because no child should go without water.”

It was a healing moment — healing from the trauma of seeking water as a child.

“It just really means a lot to me that all this time, I was never alone,” Iza says. “Even in suffering, I was never alone. It just illustrates what God says — even in suffering, I am with you. The Bible has become so real for me.”

She looks forward to the upcoming Global 6K for Water and has adapted the 6K for the toddlers at her daycare. The children dress in orange, use sippy cups at the water stations and run a lap around the park. Money raised at the event last year was used to sponsor children through World Vision.

“It was so touching because we explained to the kids why we’re doing it,” Iza says. “I remember a 4-year-old looking at me, and she said she was tired and she didn’t want to do this anymore. And I explained why we are running, and I explained to her the picture of Sophie, our sponsored child. And she said, ‘I will finish the race.’ And she ran to the finish line. And when her mom came to pick her up, she said, ‘Mommy! I ran for Sophie because she didn’t have water. I ran for her!”

Photos and videos of children in need of clean water haunt Iza.

“That was me. And it’s painful. It hurts not to have water.”

But the realization that the children walking miles for dirty water were not forgotten and people were walking, running, and doing what they could to care for them is healing the trauma of poverty.

“I just want to say thank you for doing it for me,” Iza says. “You’re allowing me to stay alive. I wish I could do more. But you’re not just helping the kids in Africa; you’re also psychologically helping the adults like me.

“And you’re helping us feel better. And you’re also helping us to see God really. It’s just so powerful. The fact that they are running, it’s so meaningful. I can’t help but say thank you.”

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Kianna’s family walks 6K for water

By Kathryn Reid
Published March 17, 2017

California mom Kianna Lyons doesn’t take water for granted. But she’s not only concerned about the water shortages that have affected southern California where she lives. She has a heart for moms and children in sub-Saharan Africa who walk 6K (3.7 miles) daily to bring home dirty water, and she’s determined to do something about it.

Kianna has chosen to join World Vision’s Global 6K for Water. Like last year, she’ll walk with her husband and three children — ages 2, 5, and 7 — and other members of Highland Avenue Community Church of the Nazarene in Rancho Cucamonga.

“Clean water — this is something everyone should have,” says Kianna. She’s certain of that. When she first heard about the 6K at her church, she was less certain about participating.

“I’m not a runner at all!” she says. Kianna and her husband wondered if they would be expected to run. And what would they do with the kids? They were quickly reassured that runners, walkers, and stroller pushers are all welcome.

The family’s race kit included a bib with a picture of a child who needed clean water for each “racer” to wear. Maya and Owen, now 5 and 7, immediate “got it.”

“I bet he plays basketball,” said Owen about the boy whose picture they pinned on his shirt. Maya was determined to finish the course for the little girl whose picture she wore.

Kianna has kept the bibs because the 6K was such a great memory, she says.

“We could say … this is their name; this is what they look like. These are the people we hope we made a difference for. It’s like they are walking with you.”

It’s important to Kianna that her children understand what God has given them and give back. Her family has not always been able to do all she would like for others. Now it has become a top priority to her and her husband to model generosity for their children.

Walking the talk

Eighty people were expected for Highland Avenue Church’s first 6K, but even more joined the walk. Son Owen was quick out of the chute and confident of finishing strong.

But after about 4K, “everything began to break down,” Kianna says. Owen was flagging; Maya and other youngsters needed piggyback rides.

Kianna realized then what a powerful experience and a “teaching moment” the 6K could be.

She reminded Owen that while the 6K was a once-a-year event for him, other children walked that far every day for water. That’s when he remembered: They carried water; he carried nothing but the bib on his shirt.

“That’s why we’re doing this,” Kianna assured him, “so the kids don’t have to.”

This year Owen knows exactly why he’ll be walking the 6K.

“We’re walking for people who don’t have water,” he says. “It’s to raise money to get clean water and water fountains for kids. And if we keep doing it every year, there will be lots of clean water!”

Walking to build community

In their first 6K, Highland Avenue Church’s participants ranged from “babies in strollers to kids on shoulders, kids riding scooters and bikes, all the way up to a man in his 90s,” says Pastor Gabriel (Gabe) Martin.

Pastor Martin’s five kids — ages 3 to 13 — took part. Like Kianna, he embraced the opportunity to broaden their understanding of their place in the world.

He told them: “Not only do we have blessings in our lives, but we are responsible to make sure that other kids are blessed as well.”

Walking the 6K together was a blessing and a transformative experience for his church family as well. Congregation members who had only seen each other in the pews found time to talk. They met parents and kids from the preschool attached to the church.

“I can’t think of any better opportunity to engage our entire congregation and community in something that has a global impact,” says Pastor Martin. “It reminds us of the mission that we’re called to as part of the body of Christ.”

Says Kianna, “It really felt like we came together as a community.”

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The Sibblies family from New York heard about the global water crisis and decided to do something about it — walk for water so others don't have to.
The Sibblies family — (from left) Winston, Shurawl, Matthew, and Sollande — near their home in Hopewell Junction, New York. (©2017 Genesis Photo Agency/photo by Christopher Capozziello)

Family feeds their souls by walking for water together

By Heather Klinger
Published March 15, 2017

The choice to walk a 6K was an easy one for Shurawl Sibblies. Part of the appeal was a family activity. A little bit was staying healthy. Then there was the faith motivation — wanting to serve people less fortunate.

The global water crisis is staggering. Worldwide, 663 million people live without access to clean water, and those in sub-Saharan Africa have it the worst. There, women and children spend a total of 20 million hours every day collecting water. They walk an average of 6 kilometers (about 3.7 miles) a day to get the water they need for drinking, cooking, bathing, and washing.

“I can’t imagine a child walking that long for water,” says Shurawl, the mother of two from Hopewell Junction, New York. “I had no idea the significance of that distance. It led us to think how privileged we are.”

So last year on a cold spring day, Shurawl walked and ran a 6K with her family — her husband, Winston; then-13-year-old daughter, Sollande; then-8-year-old son, Matthew; and her church community from Hopewell Reformed Church.

“It was fun to talk with people along the way, run with people along the way, and have our children participate,” Shurawl says. “People were out with their baby carriages and strollers, but there were also some avid, hardcore runners in our bunch.”

The 6K was right up Sollande’s alley; Matthew was more reluctant. But when Shurawl asked him, “Wouldn’t you like to help another child? Think of how much you have,” he agreed to join the rest of the family.

That’s the bonus appeal of the 6K for Shurawl — instilling good values in her kids, like thinking of others first and missional living.

After receiving their race bibs in the mail — each with a child’s name, age, and photo — the family prayed together for the children on their bibs.

Next came fundraising to provide clean water for kids and communities in need. “When I reached out to people to donate,” Shurawl says, “they were happy to give, and I was happy to give. I give where my heart is called.”

This year, Shurawl and her family are again signed up for the Global 6K for Water.

“It is something I would highly recommend,” Shurawl says. “It’s fun. It’s for a good cause. You’re giving, and you’re also receiving something in the process. Doing something good for others feeds your soul.”

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Johgina Densmore has completed three 6K walks with World Vision to raise money for clean water for children in Africa. She hopes to double her team for this year's Global 6K for Water May 6, 2017.
Johgina Densmore has completed three 6K walks with World Vision to raise money for clean water for children in Africa. She hopes to double her 150-person team from last year in this year’s event on May 6. (Photo courtesy Johgina Densmore)

One woman creates a ripple in bringing clean water to impoverished communities

By Kristy J. O’Hara-Glaspie
Published Jan. 11, 2017

As Johgina Densmore walked along Lake Michigan on a bitter November day in 2014, 20-mph winds pelted the lake water at her, repeatedly stinging her face.

But the fierce winds would not deter her and her best friends from finishing their walk in Chicago. Too much was riding on them finishing — they were walking a 6K with World Vision to bring clean water to children and families in Africa who walk the same distance every day to get dirty, contaminated water.

“It was God who got me through those 20-mph winds on the lake,” 52-year-old Johgina says.

Despite not being a runner, when Johgina learned about the lack of access to clean water many families face, she signed up for the 6K event with Team World Vision to raise money to do something about it. And in two-and-a-half years since that race against the harsh winds, her first step has multiplied into thousands — all making a difference in the lives of children halfway across the world.

“My life has changed regarding water,” Johgina says. “I was ignorant to the lack of clean water. Just to think that there are kids that don’t have access to clean water, and the water they do have access to is dirty and contaminated, it’s made me more self-conscious. I try to share this as much as I can and share the awareness so others’ eyes can be opened too.”

Gathering friends

Johgina already was making an impact on a community in Kenya by sponsoring a child with World Vision. But when she first heard about the 6K in 2014, despite knowing the need so many faced in the world, because of her sponsorship she was shocked to learn how many people don’t have access to clean water.

“When the 6K came up, and they were talking about providing clean water to kids in Africa, I was like ‘What? Everybody has clean water!’” she says. “But in my naiveté, I didn’t know.”

She learned that her entry fee would help provide clean water for one person, and it inspired her to take the first step and join the event as a walker.

“I am not a runner. I am a zero runner. I walk, jog, walk — and my jog is just a little faster than my walk,” Johgina says with a laugh.

She convinced her best friend, who competes as a triathlete, to join too and walk with her on that cold November day. The two finished, feeling empowered.

Steps multiplying

Johgina’s steps began to multiply in 2015 when she shared what she’d learned about water with friends from church and work. They were inspired to join her in the 2015 6K — this time during a warmer month. That year, about 15 of her friends participated with her.

In 2016, Johgina felt God calling her to do even more, so she decided to captain a team and asked her pastor if they could announce it in church. Johgina says, “He had just a little bit of competition in his spirit, and he said, ‘This is what we’re doing, and we want to have the largest team — let’s sign up because of what this cause is; it’s phenomenal.’”

People stepped up, no matter their circumstances. One man didn’t even have proper shoes for the event, but she assured him he was going to be fine.

“He just really understood the value of walking the 6K,” she says. “We have to be able to do what the Bible tells us. Christ says, ‘I was in prison, and you came to see me, I was hungry, and you fed me, I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink.’ We have to live those Scriptures.”

On race day, Johgina and a team of more than 150 people walked and ran the Global 6K’s 3.7 miles together — a far cry from that first race she walked with just one friend along Lake Michigan. On race day, Johgina made an even bigger impact by deciding to sponsor another child: a little girl from Kenya named Dorcas, whose picture was on her race bib.

Creating ripples

This year, Johgina wants to multiply her steps even more. She’s praying to double her team for the 2017 Global 6K for Water on May 6, and she’s already recruiting family and friends to join her.

“You don’t have to be a runner to make an impact,” she tells them. “You can make an impact just by walking. If you jog, you jog. If you run, that’s great. You have to look at the bigger picture.

“This may sound cliché, but people need to know they can be the pebble that’s thrown across the water. People think a pebble can’t make an impact, but it creates ripples, and the 6K can do that. They have to see themselves creating ripples and giving back.”

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Elisabeth Morton overcame being on a feeding tube to run the World Vision 6K for Water.
Elisabeth Morton overcame being on a feeding tube to run the World Vision 6K for Water. (©2015 Genesis Photos/photo by Matthew Bowie)

Once on a feeding tube, a Chicago woman runs 6K for clean water

By Kristy J. O’Hara-Glaspie
Published Oct. 25, 2015

Elisabeth Morton was one of the last to cross the finish line during the World Vision 6K for Water in Chicago last year, but she collapsed in joy anyway.

Nobody thought she could finish the race, which raised money for World Vision’s clean water work in Africa.

“I fell over in tears,” the 28-year-old says, “and it was a great feeling to know God gave me what I needed to cross.”

The run was about more than reaching the finish line for Elisabeth, who suffers from an unexplained health condition. Starting in 2012, Elisabeth couldn’t eat or drink without excruciating pain, and while her diet contained the fattiest foods possible, she lost half of her body weight. Doctors still haven’t figured out why.

Just before Christmas that year, she was attached to a feeding tube, which was replaced five times in 17 months. Throughout it all, Elisabeth’s faith radiated to the medical staff around her as she confidently prayed for God’s sustenance and healing.

God is bigger and has a plan. He just asks us to submit to him.—Elisabeth Morton

Miraculously, in May 2014, she had improved enough for doctors to remove the feeding tube. Slowly Elisabeth regained weight, but her ability to eat remained restricted. Nevertheless, when a friend at church invited Elisabeth to join the World Vision 6K for Water, she decided to run.

She started running that summer, at first one block. Then a second block. She slowly linked those blocks together, building stamina and raising pledges for clean water in Africa. By the time the November race day arrived, determination consumed her.

“I have clean water,” she says. “I have food, even though it hates me. [Some children] don’t. I want to give back.”

Despite 20-degree temperatures and extreme wind that sent Lake Michigan waves splashing runners as they raced, Elisabeth persevered. When she crossed the finish line, everyone was amazed.

Elisabeth is training to run the Chicago Marathon with Team World Vision and raise even more for clean water. Her medical condition hasn’t improved, but she still sees God’s goodness in her life.

“It’s a testimony that God is bigger and has a plan,” Elisabeth says. “He just asks us to submit to him. I learned a lot about having to rely fully on the Lord to keep you alive every day.”

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What you can do

  • Walk or run the Global 6K for Water on May 4, 2019, to provide life-changing clean water to one person in need. You’ll walk or run with the picture of the child receiving clean water through World Vision’s water projects.
  • Learn more about clean water and how you can be part of the movement to end the global water crisis by 2030.
  • Join us in praying that more and more communities would have clean water access, and thank God for the access to clean water gained by this community.
  • Give a monthly gift to provide clean water to communities lacking it. Your ongoing gift creates lasting change in a community.

The post Global 6K participants walk for water appeared first on World Vision.

Matthew 25: Pray for the thirsty

Next to air, water is our most essential necessity. Here in the United States, most of us are blessed to have abundant, clean water to drink and use for cooking, growing food, washing clothes, and flushing toilets. We seldom worry that the water we drink could make us sick — or even kill us.

Around the world, hundreds of millions of people do not share this blessing. Every year we recognize this reality with World Water Day on March 22. This is a day to champion the right of people everywhere to have access to affordable, safe, convenient drinking water.

… I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.—Matthew 25:35 (NIV)

In West Pokot County, Kenya, 5-year-old Kamama never liked going to the river to gather water.

“It was too far,” Kamama says. “I wanted to stop.”

Thankfully she has. Kamama, now a sponsored child, lives in a community served by World Vision’s Mtelo water project, which opened in 2015. Today, they have a gravity-fed water system that supplies clean water to about 800 households as well as schools, churches, and a health center.

She now walks about 252 yards round-trip to the closest water point, and it takes her less than seven minutes. Because there is clean water nearby, she is seldom sick, she bathes every day, and her mother has the time and water she needs to grow fruits and vegetables.

While Kamama’s village has been transformed, the struggle to find clean water continues for countless children and families elsewhere. Join us in prayer for people around the world who lack this most basic necessity for health and life.

Pray for the thirsty.

An estimated 844 million people around the world don’t have access to clean water. Clean water helps free children from deadly, preventable diseases. It liberates women and children from long hours spent gathering dirty, contaminated water. Clean water restores health and opens the door to education, better livelihoods, a promising future, and the kind of life God intends for His children.

Loving God, we ask for Your blessings on children, mothers, fathers, and communities who are thirsty. Purify, protect, and multiply their water sources. Strengthen their resolve so they may fully enjoy the benefits of clean water — essentials like education, gardens of fresh produce, and good health.

“Come, all you who are thirsty. …” —Isaiah 55:1 (NIV)

844 million people around the world don't have access to clean water; that's more than 1 of every 10 people around the world. Join us in prayer for children and families who are thirsty and lack this most basic necessity.
Children watch as World Vision staff manually drill a well in Ethiopia. (©2013 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Pray for the global will to ensure everyone has safe drinking water.

People in wealthier countries often are unaware of life-threatening issues surrounding water in developing nations. Through the efforts of organizations such as World Vision, more people are realizing that hundreds of millions of people face serious illness because they lack access to clean drinking water. Ask God to create compassion in hearts and connect people in developed nations with organizations that can help them get this life-giving resource.

Heavenly Father, remind us of Your command to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Don’t let us rest until we know we have done everything we can to meet others’ need for water.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” —Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)

Pray for women and girls who daily carry water over long distances.

Women and girls have transported water from distant sources for millennia. In Genesis 24, Abraham’s servant first saw Rebekah, Isaac’s future wife, at a well. Jesus also met the Samaritan woman at a well. In most of the developing world, women and girls disproportionately bear the burden of collecting water for their families.

Transporting water from distant sources is no less difficult now than it was then. The process consumes precious time that could be used for more productive activities, such as farming or going to school. In sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 40 billion hours are lost every year due to time spent collecting and transporting water.

Dear God, You promise in Psalm 23 to be close beside us and protect us even as we walk through the darkest valley. We claim this promise for women and girls who trek to get water for their families. As You walk alongside, strengthen them, and protect them.

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” —Psalm 23:4 (NIV)

Pray for improved health.

Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death among children younger than 5. About half of childhood malnutrition is related to water, sanitation, or hygiene issues, too. Ask God to protect children from the dangers of unsafe water and poor sanitation and hygiene.

Great Healer, You are good and merciful. Touch precious little ones endangered by poor water, sanitation, and hygiene. Give them Your strength to fight off the illnesses that wrack their bodies. Lead their communities to discover clean water sources close by so they can enjoy better health.

“… The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it.” —Psalm 65:9 (NIV)

844 million people around the world don't have access to clean water; that's more than 1 of every 10 people around the world. Join us in prayer for children and families who are thirsty and lack this most basic necessity.
Kamama picks oranges in her family’s orchard. With water close by, her mother, Julia, can water the orange, guava, mango, and lemon trees every day so her family can enjoy healthy, nutritious food. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Pray for people to discover the Source of living water.

“I was once a person of little faith,” says Memory Handenda, a mother in the Twachiyanda community in southern Zambia. “But after my prayers, and this water came out, then I became a person of a lot of faith. We believed that, indeed, God exists.” World Vision rejoices with Memory, but many people still live without faith and hope.

We are grateful to You, Lord, for being our Source of living water — the One who satisfies our soul’s deepest desire with the joy of salvation. Thank You for strengthening Memory’s faith by answering her prayers. Show all of us that faith doesn’t come from answered prayers, but rather from the “confidence in what we hope for” (Hebrews 11:1). Open people’s eyes to recognize You as the only Source of living water for their parched souls. Let them be refreshed in Your love when they enjoy clean water to drink.

“… My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” —Psalm 63:1 (NASB)

Pray for World Vision’s ongoing work that brings clean, accessible water to millions of people every year.

World Vision is the largest non-governmental provider of clean water in the developing world, reaching one new person every 10 seconds and three new schools every day with clean water.

We believe the global water and sanitation crisis can be solved within our lifetime. That’s why we’re focused on providing clean water and sanitation to every man, woman, and child in every community we work in, including the most vulnerable populations in some of the hardest-to-reach places.

Please pray for our ongoing efforts that are bringing clean, sustainable water — and renewed health — to children, families, and communities around the world.

Faithful God, give wisdom to Your followers at World Vision as they seek to bring clean water and other life-saving interventions to millions more families. Thank You for equipping people who love You as they bring new health and opportunities to the world’s most vulnerable. Like Isaiah’s vision of water in the desert, we hope to see no child die of diarrhea, no mother spend hours transporting water, no school without proper toilets and sanitation, and no one drinking unsafe water.

“… Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.” —Isaiah 35:6 (NIV)

Pray for World Vision’s donors and partners.

World Vision recognizes that the visionary achievements of ending the global water and sanitation crisis by 2030 cannot be accomplished alone. We are privileged to partner with individual donors, foundations, corporations, national and local governments, and other humanitarian organizations to accomplish this life-saving work.

We are grateful to You, God Almighty, for passionate donors who understand and care about the needs of people in developing rural communities worldwide. These gifts enable life-giving water projects that demonstrate Your steadfast love. We ask You to ignite passion in people’s hearts to help bring clean water to people who desperately need it. Remind those of us who have safe water to always give generously and freely to help make this blessing available to others.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven .” —Matthew 6:10 (NIV)

What you can do next

  • Learn more about clean water and how you can be part of the movement to end the global water crisis by 2030.
  • Walk or run the Global 6K for Water on May 4, 2019, to provide life-changing clean water to one person in need. You’ll walk or run with the picture of the child receiving clean water through World Vision’s water projects.
  • Take the week-long Matthew 25 Challenge that will help you and your family step out of your comfort zones and engage in God’s love for “the least of these brothers and sisters” who Jesus calls us to care for in Matthew 25:35-40.
  • Give a monthly gift to provide clean water to communities lacking it. Your ongoing gift creates lasting change in a community.

 

Chris Huber, Denise C. Koenig, Kathryn Reid, and Laura Reinhardt of World Vision’s staff in the U.S. contributed to this article.

The post Matthew 25: Pray for the thirsty appeared first on World Vision.

The dangers below: The pond of misery in Rwanda

Alongside a muddy pond in Rwanda lives a family with six daughters. They differ in size, height, and personality, but they agree on one thing: They hate the pond. It is dirt-brown, bug-infested, and disgusting. “The water stinks because of the cow dung,” says 8-year-old Esther Gisubizo. It tastes bad, too. “It’s bitter,” she says. But there’s no way around it. The pond is the family’s only source of water.

Several times a day, Esther and her five sisters, ages 6 to 17, trek to the pond to collect water. They live in Gatsibo district, a two-hour drive northeast of Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. Their parents, Augustin Hakizimana, 45, and Olive Nirere, 38, moved back to the district after the genocide — Olive from refuge in Tanzania and Augustin from the Democratic Republic of the Congo where, as a soldier, he’d lost a finger and suffered a serious bullet wound to the leg.

The pond is a busy place. “People come from far away on their bicycles,” says Augustin. Thousands of people from seven nearby villages trek down the path carrying yellow jerrycans to fill, competing with herds of cattle who are drinking and defecating in the pond. “It’s stagnant water,” says Augustin. “Feces are in it. When you drink, you know what’s in it.”

The cattle lift their shiny black heads at the sound of the mobile water tanks that come to the pond to pump water for use in mixing cement for road and other construction. The advent of electricity in some parts of the district has brought opportunity, creating even more competition for water al-ready in short supply.

World Vision is working to bring clean water to communities like this one in Rwanda.
Children wait for cattle to leave the pond before they are able to get water. The pond attracts those desperate for water, including animals who defecate there. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

A wave of fear

“Sometimes we go in the dark in the morning,” says Esther’s 11-year-old sister, Sandrine. The sisters hold hands, giving each other courage to make the trek, the first of six each day. “I get scared because most times, there are snakes there and parasites,” says Esther. “Most times I’ve gone to fetch water, the parasites come and eat me [on my legs].”

Of all the sisters, Esther has suffered the greatest physical distress after a bloodsucking parasite attached itself to her ankle.

“It was very painful,” she says. Patient Munezero, the supervisor of the nearby Bihinga Health Center, says the parasite often bites between the toes or the sole of the foot. “If you don’t pull it off,” he explains, “it keeps burrowing to find blood. The only solution then is surgery.”

Esther’s father says, “She’s usually the funniest and most vigorous of my daughters.” But Esther has malaria, and her skin itches. She’s lethargic. The pond is so dirty that the girls get scabies from washing in it, and they can never truly get clean.

World Vision is working in Rwanda to bring clean water to all Rwandans by 2022.
Eight-year-old Esther is weary from malaria. The child, who is often ill, makes a trek to a dirty pond several times a day to collect water. Her family is among the 6 million Rwandans who lack access to safe water. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Olive shakes her head at the wretchedness. She too is suffering from malaria, her face shiny and countenance weary. “Do we have any choice?” she asks. “What we do is out of desperation.”

Desperation leads to unwise choices, including venturing out too deep to gather water. Seeing bugs skim the surface, zipping their way around the floating muck, many believe that the water is cleaner farther from the shore. As two boys wade out farther, an older woman yells, “Please come back! You may drown.”

Everyone knows she’s thinking of Julius.

A spark extinguished

Julius Tugume was a star. “He was handsome and energetic,” says his aunt, Francisca Mukandamutsa. Francisca, a seamstress, adopted Julius when he was 6. His father had died as a result of HIV, and his mother, Francisca’s sister, was unable to care for him. “I took him in to give him a chance,” says Francisca. She brought him home after his father’s funeral, and the little boy thrived.

World Vision is working to bring safe, clean water to Francisca's community,
Francisca Mukandamutsa’s nephew, Julius Tugume, a rising star at school, drowned in the pond. Francisca, a seamstress, adopted Julius when he was 6. She was devastated by his death. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

“His marks were above distinction,” remembers Edward Sakure Ndahiro, the headmaster of Bihinga School, where Julius attended. “He was a genius.” The 17-year-old had just taken the national exams, scoring 82 percent — a mark so high that when the headmaster reveals it, one can hear the sharp, surprised intake of his listeners’ breath.

Julius never knew his score. The test results came back after he drowned in the pond. His best friend, Desire Zigirinshuti, 17, was there when it happened. On that day in November 2017, when the boys went to the pond to collect water, Julius went out too far, dropping into one of the pond’s deep holes. “We didn’t swim, so we couldn’t save him,” says Desire.

Francisca learned late on that terrible afternoon that Julius had drowned. She was devastated, as were his friends. “On his burial date,” she says, “those kids cried until their last breath.” His headmaster, Edward, still grieves. “The family lost a good boy; the school lost; the country lost,” he says.

Julius left behind three best friends when he drowned, Desire, Elise, and Justin (seated left to right). “He died in our sight,” says Elise. “We could not even help.”(©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

The community lost, too — a sense of security replaced by fear. Now, Olive worries for her daughters who collect water while she works. She knows she could lose them. “Whenever I remember Julius, that is what comes in my mind,” she says.

Esther will never forget that terrible day and tries to protect others from what happened to Julius. “I always tell them, ‘Please, if you go beyond that point, you’re going to drown.’”

A deluge of maladies

Julius’s death is a distressing example of the suffering inflicted on Rwandans by dirty water. At Bihinga Health Center, Patient Munezero, 33, presides over a waiting room that’s packed on this rainy day with women and children bundled against the weather.

The center serves 42,000 people, and Patient says it is always busy. Dirty water is to blame: 70 percent of the patients have water-related illnesses. It’s no surprise given what’s in the water. “When the cows are going for drinking, they leave cow dung there,” says Esther. “It’s so disgusting to think you can drink this water.”

Not drinking water is, of course, dangerous and deadly. “When people don’t have enough water for drinking, they can become dehydrated,” explains Patient. “That can even cause death.” But drinking contaminated water leads to disease. “People get sick with diarrhea, digestive disorders, typhoid, [and] intestinal worms,” he says.

It’s ingesting the water, over and over, that keeps children from advancing. “When I drink that dirty water,” says Esther, “I get sick to my stomach. I vomit. I feel a lot of pain, and I dehydrate very often.”

When that happens, she misses school. Esther was sick so much last year that she was moved back. Now she’s in first grade. Again.

A surge of hope

Nearly 6 million of Rwanda’s 11 million people don’t have access to safe water. That’s why World Vision is thinking big and working with the government to bring clean water to all of Rwanda’s people — including children like Esther — by 2024.

This ambitious goal is attainable. First, because of the size. Rwanda is densely populated, but small. One can drive around the country in just a day, making it easier to oversee projects and monitor progress.

Second: scale. As the world’s leading nongovernmental provider of clean water, World Vision has the trust and support of the Rwandan government.

And third: sustainability. World Vision helps communities establish committees that advocate for water issues and handle operation and maintenance of water systems, so water keeps flowing. Progress has moved quickly since 2012 when World Vision started water, sanitation, and hygiene work in Rwanda, installing pipelines to serve thousands of people at a time. Already, over 300,000 more Rwandans have clean water and access to improved sanitation. Another 130,000 have installed hand-washing facilities and improved latrines as a result of World Vision’s behavior change campaigns.

World Vision has champions among the highest level of government officials who are eager to achieve success on behalf of children like Esther. “Your goals are our goals,” says Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente. “We are working together in a good manner.”

Esther is grateful, knowing that World Vision and its donors are committed to providing clean water. She knows it will change her life. “I would say thank you to them because they are bringing clean water to us,” says Esther. “Also, because they are looking for money to get that clean water, we are praying for them.”

Julius’s aunt, Francisca, echoes Esther’s prayers for clean water. “We lost Julius, but if World Vision would do something so that another child like Julius would not die, I will praise God for that,” says Francisca.

While it’s too late for Julius, it’s not too late for Esther and her sisters. And now, their need for clean water is even more pressing. Augustin and Olive recently separated after years of strife, leaving Olive to care for the girls on her own. An already challenging life just became even more difficult for the mother and her six daughters, who are fighting for survival in a house by a dirty pond in Rwanda.

How you can help children like Esther

  • Learn more about clean water and how you can be part of the movement to end the global water crisis by 2030.
  • Join us in praying that more and more communities would have clean water access.
  • Walk or run the Global 6K for Water on May 4, 2019, to provide life-changing clean water to one person in need. You’ll walk or run with the picture of the child receiving clean water through World Vision’s water projects.
  • Give a monthly gift to provide clean water to communities lacking it. Your ongoing gift creates lasting change in a community.

 

Ange Gusenga of World Vision’s staff in Rwanda and Jane Sutton-Redner of World Vision’s staff in the United States contributed to this article.

The post The dangers below: The pond of misery in Rwanda appeared first on World Vision.

How World Vision provides access to clean water around the world

For impoverished children, access to clean water not only restores health but also opens doors to educational opportunities and a promising future. For more than five decades, World Vision has worked in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), originally starting with small water projects. Today, World Vision brings clean water to one new person every 10 seconds and by doing so also equips communities with sanitation and hygiene programs. Here are five examples of our water work around the world.

World Vision brings clean water to one new person every 10 seconds. Here are five examples of how we provide access to clean water around the world.
Cheru holds a cup of clean water from her community’s new gravity-fed system. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Gravity-fed water pipeline

In the northern Kenyan community of Kesot, clean water rushes from a gravity-fed water pipeline system. A hilltop dam protects and diverts spring water and the pipeline — which community members helped build and now maintain — delivers it to homes and the three primary schools. Students, like Cheru, can attend class because they spend less time gathering water; and because the schools are outfitted with large water tanks, spigots, latrines for boys and girls of differing abilities, and hand-washing stations. This system will last because the community owns it — the water committee collects user fees to perform maintenance and operations.

World Vision brings clean water to one new person every 10 seconds. Here are five examples of our water work around the world.
Children wash their hands with soap at a sink in Honduras. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

WASH UP! teaches good hygiene

The WASH UP! program trains educators and community leaders to use play-based learning materials to teach children about good hygiene practices. This goes a long way to reduce water-related disease like diarrhea, cholera, and other sickness. On their way to become health superstars, students play games and activities featuring Sesame Street’s Elmo and 6-year-old Raya. It helps children identify healthy hygiene habits, such as washing hands with soap and how to use the restroom. World Vision and Sesame Workshop pioneered this program in rural Zambia. Together we plan to reach 880,000 children in 16 countries by 2020. That number of children is equivalent to nearly all the public school students in Colorado.

World Vision brings clean water to one new person every 10 seconds. Here are five examples of our water work around the world.
A Syrian girl uses a water tap in Azraq refugee camp in Jordan. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Alexander Whittle)

Rehabilitating community water systems for Syrian refugees

The eight-year war in Syria has displaced millions of people — half of them children. Damaged or destroyed water pipelines and sanitation systems have left families vulnerable to sickness and disease. World Vision rehabilitates critical water infrastructure, like pipelines, pumps, storage tanks, and taps, in hard-hit areas. We provide clean water and sanitation facilities to Syrian refugees and hygiene education to refugee children in Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq. By 2020, our goal is to reach 6 million people affected by the crisis with clean water and provide 200,000 people with functioning sanitation and hand-washing facilities.

World Vision brings clean water to one new person every 10 seconds. Here are five examples of our water work around the world.
Am obstetric nurse washes a newborn baby for the first time in the maternity section of a clinic in Mali as the baby’s mother, center, and grandmother watch. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)

Boreholes provide water for cleaner medical clinics

In Mali, 1 woman in 27 has a chance of dying during childbirth over her lifetime — compared with 1 in 3,800 chance in the U.S. Clean water and improved sanitation at medical facilities are critical for patients and workers in efforts to prevent spread of diseases. Facilities in rural, developing areas often lack the necessities like running water, functioning toilets, and hand-washing stations. That’s why World Vision prioritizes efforts to drill borehole wells, provide necessities, and train health workers in Mali and in dozens of other countries. Even the smallest of improvements lead to cleaner facilities and better outcomes for mothers and babies.

World Vision brings clean water to one new person every 10 seconds. Here are five examples of our water work around the world.
A girl enjoys clean water from a recently installed solar-powered water pipeline system in Afghanistan. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Narges Ghafary)

Solar-powered, reverse-osmosis water filtration

Bringing clean water to a community in northwestern Afghanistan is improving children’s health and education, strengthening the community, and helping protect the environment. Water is contaminated and dangerous to drink in Badghis province’s Ab Kamari district. World Vision and local leaders have devised an innovative solar-powered, reverse-osmosis filtration system to bring clean water to residents.  It removes most bad chemicals and bacteria by pushing pressurized water through a filter. The system produces up to 1,135 gallons of clean drinking water per hour and serves 700 households — about 4,900 people.

The post How World Vision provides access to clean water around the world appeared first on World Vision.

Churches, schools, corporations rally for clean water as 6K host sites

When you walk or run the Global 6K for Water, you provide life-changing clean water to one person! You can create even more impact by becoming a host site and gathering friends and family to walk and run with you. It’s easier than throwing a birthday party.

When you sign up to host a 6K on Saturday, May 4, 2019, we’ll equip you with online resources like a planning guide, marketing materials, and race day experience goodies including a start and finish banner, mile markers, and T-shirts, bibs, and medals for your participants.

Check out what people like you have to say about how easy and impactful it is to host the Global 6K for Water:

Register as a host site for the Global 6K for Water on May 4, 2019, and bring clean water to people in need!

Employees from HOH Water Technology walk together in the 2018 Global 6K for Water.
Employees from HOH Water Technology walk together in the 2018 Global 6K for Water. (Photo courtesy of HOH Water Technology)

Chicago-area company creates vision through the Global 6K for Water

By Kristy J. O’Hara-Glaspie
Published April 5, 2019

Tom and Reid Hutchison share not just a name that runs a third-generation family-business, but they also share a passion for bringing clean water to people in need.

Their company, HOH Water Technology in Palatine, Illinois, specializes in water treatment solutions. Tom serves as president of the Chicago-area organization, and Reid, his son, works as the director of marketing. While their business has a stake in the water game, God placed a burden on each of their hearts in different ways to help solve the global water crisis.

Since then, both Tom and Reid have become passionate about educating and inspiring HOH’s 100 employees and the company’s network about the worldwide lack of access to clean water and participating in the annual Global 6K for Water. Find out how. Read more >>

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Kansas school unites community as Global 6K for Water host site

By Chris Huber
Published March 7, 2019

Mendy Burnett and Kim Swader like to make things happen. They like it even more when their community comes together to make things happen for a cause dear to their hearts.

A local water crisis in a small Kansas town sparked a teacher’s interest in bringing her community together as a World Vision Global 6K for Water host site.
Runners take off from the start line in the World Vision Global 6K for Water event May 19, 2018, at Chanute Christian Academy in Chanute, Kansas. More than 300 students and families from the private school, local public schools, and 10 churches participated in the event. (Photo courtesy of Mendy Burnett)

They have organized World Vision’s Global 6K for Water at their kids’ school, Chanute Christian Academy in Chanute, Kansas, every year since 2017. As host site leaders, Mendy, a teacher and mother of three, and Kim, a stay-at-home mother of four, tackle lots of moving parts. Promoting the event at school assemblies, organizing teams of volunteers, laying out the 6K course, and coaching participants to fundraise for clean water can take a lot of time and effort.

But they have turned it into a community-wide team-building exercise. In fact, they have used the opportunity not only to raise support for World Vision’s clean water work around the world but to galvanize students, their families, and the whole community for a cause greater than themselves.

“Regardless of background, it was a community-building event,” Mendy says. “It was a moment for the community to come together and do something substantial.”

The two friends explain what led them and their school to sign up as a Global 6K host site. Read more >>

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Global 6K for Water instills a vision in future leaders

By Laura Reinhardt
Published July 31, 2018

The partnership between Lake Center Christian School and World Vision started when students in the running club signed up for World Vision’s Global 6K for Water. When the day arrived last May, Ohio’s spring weather wasn’t exactly ideal — it was snowing. Despite the less-than-stellar conditions, 40 of the 50 participants who’d committed still showed up for the event.

Dannon Stock, who led the running club at that time, says those tough circumstances contributed to the students’ feelings of solidarity with children who have to walk 6 kilometers every day for water.

This year, the fifth-grade classes have embraced World Vision’s Global 6K for Water as the service-learning component in their school, which is about 30 minutes outside of Akron. Service to Christ is one of the school’s core values, and they look for unique ways to meet the needs of their immediate area as well as the global community. This event seemed tailor-made for them.

The students created soaps, hand sanitizer, and bracelets to raise money for their entrance fees and to donate to clean water efforts. The third-grade teachers wanted another activity for their classes to do for their service project. Again, World Vision provided the answer with the Matthew 25 ChallengeRead more >>

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Magna Exteriors joins the Global 6K challenge

By Heather Klinger
Published April 19, 2018

After avid runner Ryan Dwornik finished a 20-mile training run for the Columbus Marathon, he was exhausted. But then he thought to run another 3.73 miles (6 kilometers) — the average distance women and children in Africa walk for water that is often unsafe to drink.

Ryan Dwornik crosses the finish line of the 2016 Columbus Marathon. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Dwornik)

“While I’m out enjoying a run, I think about how people in Africa don’t have the same freedom because they’re so consumed by this need for water that it takes over their entire life,” Ryan says. This inspires him to do everything he can to help.

Ryan’s a manufacturing manager for Magna Exteriors — an operating unit of Magna International, one of the largest automotive parts suppliers in the world. When he joined Team World Vision for IRONMAN Wisconsin, he set an ambitious $25,000 fundraising goal for himself. Then the president of Magna Exteriors challenged him to double it. But Ryan knew that he wasn’t going to be successful without some help and large-scale thinking.

Meanwhile, his coworkers were discussing how they could bring together Magna Exteriors’ running community across multiple locations and tie it into a charity. One thing led to another, and in 2017, more than 2,000 Magna Exteriors employees and their families participated across 13 countries, raising more than $250,000.

“We’re coming together as a company to do something bigger than we could do individually,” Ryan says.

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Delta Air Lines is again the official sponsor of World Vision's Global 6K for Water event in Seattle at Gas Works Park on May 19. Learn the story behind the partnership.
Tony Gonchar, Delta Air Lines’ vice president in Seattle, and Rich Stearns, president of World Vision U.S., right, stand at the finish line of the 2017 Global 6K for Water holding jerry cans that people around the world use to gather water. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Andrea Peer)

Delta Air Lines, World Vision U.S. partner to provide clean water

By Phil Manzano
Published March 16, 2018

Walking or running a 6K is easy for Tony Gonchar, Delta Air Lines’ vice president in Seattle. But after World Vision’s 2017 Global 6K for Water, he had a new appreciation for the distance.

Six kilometers is the average distance that people who lack access to clean water walk each day to get water, often carrying heavy jugs or jerry cans filled with water on the return trip. And that’s what Tony did: carry a 5-gallon jerry can, filled with about 40 sloshing, awkward pounds of water, on a route around Gas Works Park in Seattle.

“I was here with my daughter and her boyfriend, so thankfully I had some moral support on this,” Tony says as he recovered at a tent at the event site. “I can tell you; I feel like I’m a pretty fit guy, but that was a very hard thing to do.”

Participants in last year’s Global 6K for Water in Seattle make their way along the course to raise money for clean water around the world. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Andrea Peer)

About 1,300 walkers and runners in Seattle and more than 28,000 people worldwide walked the Global 6K to raise money to provide clean water to people without access. Through World Vision’s work, one person gets clean water every 10 seconds.

“With every step, I was imagining what it’s like to do this barefoot,” he says. “What it’s like to do on dirt, in fear of your life, and to only — at the end of the journey — have a can full of dirty water that needs to be purified.

“It was an incredible experience. It provides an appreciation not only for the life that I have, but the appreciation that we might be able to do something about these poor conditions that people face around the world every day.”

Delta is again the official sponsor of the 2018 Global 6K for Water event in Seattle at Gas Works Park.

“We’ve been partners with World Vision as their preferred airlines supplier for the last five years,” Tony says. The 6K was attractive because it was an event calling for personal engagement — walk a mile in the shoes of people that really have a very difficult time in life trying just to get the things we take for granted, like clean water.

So Delta, Tony says, was happy to once again support the 6K event as part of its efforts to support the local community. In Seattle alone, Delta partners with more than 100 charities, and worldwide, Delta gives back 1 percent of its profits — about $40 million — to charitable organizations.

Last May, lugging the jerry can on the 6K route, Tony’s race bib featured an 11-year-old for whom he walked.

He says, “I can tell you, having walked with the jerry can, you have a real appreciation how difficult it could be just to get something that we turn the tap on and take for granted.

“We’re doing it in our track shoes and our Gor-Tex clothing, and it’s still a challenge. This event helps people understand the difficulty that other people around the world face in accessing basic necessities, and hopefully everybody walks away with a greater appreciation.”

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A Tennessee church walked and ran for clean water last year. Now they’re making strides for the Global 6K for Water to become a community-wide event.
Pastor Ryan Krivsky pictured in the mission area of First Baptist Church in Columbia, Tennessee. He and 225 members of the church participated in the 2017 Global 6K for Water and plan to make it a bigger event this year. (©2017 Genesis Photo Agency/photo by David Mudd)

‘Because you walked this 6K today, a child doesn’t have to.’

By Chris Huber
Published Feb. 28, 2018

A small-town church in Tennessee is making a global impact.

“During a (church) service, I asked people to raise their hand if they wanted to change the world,” says Ryan Krivsky, worship pastor and Global 6K for Water host site leader. “I said, ‘You can because you can change someone else’s world.’ They can see that in [the Global 6K for Water]. They can see the change they’re making in one person’s world.”

Ryan says he was immediately excited about the idea when he got a flier in the mail. It was the perfect opportunity for the church to be on mission. First Baptist Church of Columbia hadn’t done something like this before. It sent a wave of excitement through the church.

For their first time doing this, Ryan says the church was deeply motivated, and they went all out: signing up for the race, enthusiastically raising money, and about 20 people volunteering to help with event logistics. Each participant’s $50 entrance fee provides clean water to one person. Runners and walkers can also choose to raise funds for water on a fundraising page or to sponsor the child pictured on their race bib.

“It wasn’t just, ‘Give to this general effort,’” Ryan says. “It was, ‘Oh, I’m giving to this person.’ That personalization is what really got my interest in it and what got a lot of people into it.”

Each time a person crossed the race’s finish line, Ryan and other volunteers put a medal around their neck, looked at them, and reminded them: “Because you walked this 6K today, a child doesn’t have to.” They referred to the child pictured on each participant’s race bib.

It was a powerful moment for Ryan and many others, he says.

Participants ranged in age from 6 all the way up to their 70s. It helped Ryan, the church, and the community cast a vision for a larger communitywide 6K event in 2018. He and last year’s participants have been promoting the Global 6K for Water in their community, and he’s planning to take the idea to the city council before this year’s event.

“You feel like you’re doing something,” he says. “You can see that difference in one person’s life.”

Columbia is known for its annual spring Mule Day festival. So Ryan wants to call his 6K host site the ‘Mule Town 6K.’

“It’s close-knit, and if you can get a community like that behind it, you could just exponentially grow what the impact is.”

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A church runs and walks the Global 6k for Water to bring clean water to children around the world.
Lyndsey Watson, associate pastor at Cascade Covenant Church in North Bend, Washington, leads church members at the Global 6K for Water near Gas Works Park in Seattle in 2017. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Andrea Peer)

A Washington state church mobilizes to walk the Global 6K for Water

By Phil Manzano
Published Feb. 15, 2018

A couple of years ago, 20 members of Cascade Covenant Church in North Bend, Washington, joined Team World Vision to run and raise money to bring clean water to children around the world.

Then last year, about 70 people from the church joined the Global 6K for Water: young and old, walking or running to serve in a simple, but powerful way.

“It is such an easy way to have people put their faith in action,” Senior Pastor Dan Boehlje says. “We’re just one tiny little church here in Washington, but you multiply that across the United States, across the globe and that makes a big difference.”

A church runs and walks the Global 6k for Water to bring clean water to children around the world.
Pastor Dan Boehlje. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)

Nestled in the shadow of the Cascades east of Seattle, the 6K has given Cascade Covenant a broader and deeper view of changing the world through the local congregation and community.

“It’s just show up and walk or run,” Dan says. “And it really does create its own momentum as people get excited for it because of what it means.”

Last year, about 1,300 people walked or ran the 6K course near Gas Works Park in Seattle. Worldwide, about 27,000 people walked or ran to raise awareness and money to solve the world’s water crisis.

“I want to thank you for coming,” World Vision U.S. President Rich Stearns says. “I have met men and women who are 70 years old and have never taken a clean shower or a bath in their lives. I’ve seen little children who have never had a cup of clean water to drink in their lives. Those are the people you’re running for today. Just imagine living 70 years and never having access to clean water.”

On May 19 and 20, 2018, World Vision will again host the Global 6K for Water and Celebration Sunday with participants across the U.S. and around the world.

Why a 6K? Six kilometers, about 3.7 miles, is the average distance people — usually women and girls — walk to get water in the developing world. It’s not a leisurely stroll; it’s a difficult, frequently dangerous, and time-consuming journey. And the water is dirty.

Each participant wears a race bib with a picture of a child, representing one person who will get clean water. Every $50 registration fee goes toward providing clean water for one person.

Sharing the struggle for water with children

“It was always important to me to teach my kids to be grateful for what they had,” says Angela McCann, children’s pastor at Cascade Covenant. “And so as a mother, I just think this is such a great way to teach our kids to be thankful for something as simple as a clean glass of water that’s right out of the tap.”

Even for the children she pastors, the 6K is relevant and potentially life changing.

A church runs and walks the Global 6k for Water to bring clean water to children around the world.
Angela McCann, children’s pastor. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)

The kids get it, she says. They understand what it means to have to go get water. They understand the effort to walk 6 kilometers and that kids their age do that every day around the world. Often, more than once a day.

“When we accept Jesus in our hearts, yes, we can follow God and be in heaven,” Angela says. “But there’s more to it. He’s still bringing light and healing to this world and we’re participants in that. So for me, this is faith in action. This is an application of bringing that light of Christ into the dark places of this world.”

Last year, one of her fifth graders asked his mom to text a picture of him crossing the Global 6K for Water finish line to  Angela.

“This is a fifth grader who is so excited that he got to be part of this,” Angela says. “I think of all the kids that were there from my congregation. What is this going to do for them when they’re in middle school? What is this going to do for them when they’re in college? How is this going to affect them and the people around them when they’re in high school and college? I just — that is what gives me chills.”

Impacting communities through child sponsorship

“Our whole goal is to engage our church in our community, in our world,” says Lyndsey Watson, an associate pastor at Cascade Covenant who has been the driving force behind the 6K at Cascade.

The experience of the 6K and sponsorship helps drive a deeper and more meaningful connection.

“Through sponsorship, you get to really engage in the conversation,” Lyndsey says. “We sponsor a little boy named Emmanuel, and he is awesome, and he’s growing. I get to see videos of him. I get to write emails to him. I get to write letters. My kids get to engage with that. We get to send him gifts in the mail and then hear from him, and that’s what makes it special.”

A church runs and walks the Global 6k for Water to bring clean water to children around the world.
The sponsorship booth on Global Sponsorship Sunday. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)

Cascade’s denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church, and World Vision partner to work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where the denomination has a long history of community development and relationship with the Congo Covenant Church. The children sponsored through World Vision at Cascade Covenant are from the same area of the Congo through a partnership called Covenant Kids Congo powered by World Vision.

“It’s not just that child; it’s that family, it’s that community we’re able to impact,” Lyndsey says. “I think people are able then to grasp a little bit more of what it means to actually come alongside these families in the Congo and see their lives transformed for the better.”

‘A tangible way to be the hands and feet of Jesus’

For Jaime Cole and her four children, ages 8 to 13, the Global 6K for Water was educational, allowing them to identify with children who walk for water.

“In our culture, it’s easy for us to forget how easy things are for us, like having water on a daily basis,” Jaime says. “And so doing the 6K was a good example, a physical reminder and example of what it would be like if we didn’t have that easy access and the ability to afford things like water on a regular, everyday basis.”

And while they had fun and learned something new, Jaime says the family wanted a more permanent bond with the children who walk for water, so they sponsored a child in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“It’s a real tangible way to be the hands and feet of Jesus,” Jaime says. “We’re always looking for opportunities to do that with the family and to constantly remind ourselves that we have the ability with what we’ve been given to give back to others and to represent God’s love in that way.”

‘We’re all sponsored into God’s kingdom’

A church runs and walks the Global 6k for Water to bring clean water to children around the world.
Cascade Covenant Church in North Bend, Washington. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)

Duane and Julie Duim have been longtime partners of World Vision, traveling to Zambia to meet their sponsored child, which Duane says was a life-changing moment. Participating in the Global 6K for Water was natural for their family of six.

“It went well,” Julie says. “They loved it, rallied behind it. They loved running for a purpose too. We had a great time.”

But the Duim family wanted to do more, so they sponsored one of the children on their race bibs that day — their fifth sponsored child through World Vision.

“You commonly get asked, why you would do something like this,” Duane says. “For our family, it’s been important to ask the question, not so much why are you doing but why not? Why would you not want to come in and be able to love others the way Christ loves us?

“We know that we’re all sponsored into God’s kingdom, and he calls us to do the same with his children. And we’re fortunate to be blessed in order that we can turn around and be a blessing to others. And this is just one small way to be able to do that.”

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Oregon teacher cuts off hair to promote Global 6K for Water

By Chris Huber
Published Feb. 15, 2018

As teacher Tammy Belau sat with pigtails in a lone chair in the middle of the gym floor in front of 250 students, two eager middle-school boys flanked her wielding dull scissors and wide grins. Tammy quickly counted into the microphone — one, two, three — and the boys spent the next two minutes cutting off 10 inches of her hair.

This was the boys’ reward for finishing first in the Global 6K for Water last May. Tammy, a middle school math and high school finance teacher at Hosanna Christian School in Klamath Falls, Oregon, hosted the event to encourage the community to raise funds for World Vision to bring clean water to communities in the developing world. To add an extra layer of motivation, she pledged to donate an inch of hair for every 10 people registered if their school reached 100 participants.

“God gave me so much in Jesus, and I love to give. It is so rewarding to surprise people and give joy,” Tammy says. “I loved that I was able to sacrifice something as simple as my hair to motivate 100 people to make a difference.”

Her long, brown locks discovered their fate months earlier when Tammy heard about World Vision’s Global 6K for Water at a teachers’ conference. She was immediately drawn to the cause — partly because it sounded easy to do and partly because she knew the people of Klamath Falls would be keen to participate. So she signed up the school as a host site and started recruiting students, teachers, her kids, and community members.

Teacher sitting with students outside near race course where they participated in the Global 6K for Water in May 2017.
Tammy Belau (center) a teacher at Hosanna Christian School in Klamath Falls, Oregon, sits near part of the race course with some the students who participated in the 2017 Global 6K for Water. (©2017 Genesis Photos/photo by Ryan Hawk)

Getting buy-in was easy, Tammy says. She announced it in daily school emails and at weekly chapel gatherings with students and posted a bright orange and white sign in the hallway. In the lead-up to the 6K, she found encouragement and camaraderie in the community cultivated on the Global 6K leaders’ Facebook page set up to share photos and ideas among World Vision staff and host site coordinators around the world.

“Where I live, we have a lot of outdoor activities,” Tammy says. “I know people like to do short races. It’s very doable.”

They can sympathize with children who have to travel far from their home to get water. “The people of our community want to give,” she says. “We face droughts too.”

A few years ago, the water supply dried up in part of their county, so those residents had to drive to Klamath Falls to get bottled water to weather the drought.

Tammy is a doer and inspires others to be one too. But the implications of the cause didn’t fully engulf her until right before race day.

“The impact of this struck me when I was walking the course with my daughter beforehand and we passed a couple of drainage canals,” Tammy says. “It hit me that this is the water that those kids have to drink. My kids don’t have to drink this water. My kids flush the toilet with clean water.”

Seeing those ditches helped Tammy and her daughter grasp the reality of what children on their race bibs are up against. Understanding that reality is huge, she says.

Altogether, Tammy and her team raised about $4,000, which will bring clean water to 80 people. Tammy and her husband were also inspired to embed this cause deeper into their family ethos, so they sponsored the three children on their race bibs.

“Hair grows back, but even bigger is the impact I know I made to my own daughters as well as the entire school. Love comes with sacrifice, but it’s always worth it,” Tammy says. “God comes to us with a gift. We come with open hands, and then we need to turn and give. We can’t keep him to ourselves.”

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All Shores Wesleyan Church in Michigan is again a host site for the Global 6K for Water on May 6, 2017. 6K is the average distance people in the developing world walk for water.
Jerilynn Spring listens to her husband, Thad (in orange), and Nick DeBone as they share a laugh at All Shores Wesleyan Church in Spring Lake, Michigan. (©2017 Genesis Photo Agency/photo by Todd McInturf)

Global 6K for Water: ‘Anybody can do it’

By Heather Klinger
Published Feb. 22, 2017

Nick DeBone is your typical runner.

He’s the 30-year-old dad you see running while pushing his kids in a stroller. Occasionally, his kids might jump out for a bit and join him, or they might be asking if it’s time to head home yet. He enjoys running, and he’s tackled a marathon and a few half-marathons. Nick could have easily run the 6K his church hosted that frigid Saturday morning in March 2016, but instead, he chose mostly to walk.

6K, a little more than 3.7 miles, is the average distance women and children in Africa walk for water that is often unsafe to drink. Nick alternatively walked and jogged that morning so he could get to know and encourage the people around him — members of his church congregation who were walking, jogging, and running this average distance for an extraordinary cause.

“It’s a great distance,” Nick says. “Anyone can walk that. It’s the biggest impact, I think, that $50 can make. … The idea of us not having clean water is insane. We don’t even understand that.”

As a host site, his church in Spring Lake, Michigan, helped everyone register, mapped out a course site, and hosted more than 40 participants, who each wore a race bib with the name, age, and a location of a child who would receive clean water.

“Honestly, a lot of times non-runners really have the biggest hearts for this mission,” says Nick. He organizes Team World Vision events — like the Global 6K for Water — with the All Shores Wesleyan Church outreach pastor, Thad Spring.

“The transformation that the 6K brings to you personally and those that you’re walking or running for is worth it,” Thad says. “I’ve watched children drink out of dirty streams where cows are standing in Zambia, watched children drink dirty water in Haiti, and seen pastors who are dying of cholera because of dirty water. So for me, there’s a personal touch and involvement.”

The transformation that the 6K brings to you personally and those that you’re walking or running for is worth it.—Thad Spring, outreach pastor at All Shores Wesleyan Church

But unlike Nick, Thad doesn’t think of himself as a runner.

“I’m 5’10”, 230 pounds. It takes me a while to get in shape and get going,” the 46-year-old says, laughing. “But I enjoy running and the running process. Anybody can do it. Old and young.”

All Shores — a two-campus church of about 1,200 — first participated in the 6K back in 2015 with three participants, including Nick, but one runner was sick and barely slept the night before.

“These people in Africa — it doesn’t matter what their night was like — they have to wake up to walk 6K for water anyway,” says Nick. “He had that thought process: They don’t get to skip out on a walk for water in a day because they aren’t feeling good, so I’m not going to.”

Then in 2016, their church became a 6K host site. The morning of the 6K, they had about 25 people signed up, but then families kept arriving, and they nearly doubled that amount when it came time to begin.

Here’s what you need to know to prepare well for the Global 6K for Water on May 6.
Pastor Thad Spring, 46, and his wife, Jerilynn Spring, 45, both of Muskegon, Michigan, run together on a path on their church grounds in January. They both ran in the Team World Vision Global 6K here in March 2016 and plan to participate again this year. (©2017 Genesis Photo Agency/photo by Todd McInturf)

“We had a lot of people with strollers who walked and ran. We had younger kids who could walk the entire distance,” Thad says. The family impact really struck a chord with their congregation.

This year, All Shores will collaborate with other local churches, expecting to more than double the number of participants from last year. And to heighten the experience, they’re offering water tanks for people to carry at the halfway point.

“I think about the age of kids and the women that do this,” Nick says. “They have to get [to a water source] and then come back with gallons of water. It makes it tangible and real.”

All Shores has raised about $50,000 for clean water over the past three years between the 6K events and running the Grand Rapids marathon and half marathon with Team World Vision. And now on Saturday mornings, their group of runners gathers for devotions, a running or fundraising tip, and a training run together.

“We’ve created a running group and community of people who are reaching out to their friends for Christ,” says Thad.

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What you can do

  • Register as a host site for the Global 6K for Water on May 4, 2019, to provide life-changing clean water to one person in need. You’ll walk or run with the picture of the child receiving clean water through World Vision’s water projects.
  • Learn more about clean water and how you can be part of the movement to end the global water crisis by 2030.
  • Join us in praying that more and more communities would have clean water access, and thank God for the access to clean water gained by this community.
  • Give a monthly gift to provide clean water to communities lacking it. Your ongoing gift creates lasting change in a community.

The post Churches, schools, corporations rally for clean water as 6K host sites appeared first on World Vision.

Global poverty: Facts, FAQs, and how to help

The world is making huge strides in overcoming global poverty. Since 1990, a quarter of the world has risen out of extreme poverty. Now, less than 10 percent of the world lives in extreme poverty, surviving on $1.90 a day or less.

When families move out of poverty, children’s health and well-being improve. Since 1990, the number of children dying — mostly from preventable causes such as poverty, hunger, and disease — is less than half of what it was, dropping from more than 35,000 a day to under 15,000.

While progress continues, fragile contexts and countries affected by conflict, poor governance, and natural disasters, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, have seen an increase in people living in poverty.

World Vision is committed to ending poverty and helping every child experience Jesus’ promise of life in all its fullness (John 10:10). Though eradicating global poverty is hard, particularly in fragile contexts, World Vision believes there is reason to hope.

Ending global poverty is a priority not only for World Vision. By 2030, as part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, global leaders aim to eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere.

Help end global poverty.

History of the eradication of poverty

In the past two hundred years, the world has made tremendous progress in ending global poverty.

Image courtesy of Our World in Data

1820: The vast majority of the world lived in extreme poverty 200 years ago. Only a small elite segment enjoyed higher standards of living. Since then, economic growth has transformed our world, lifting more people out of poverty even while population numbers have multiplied sevenfold.

1945: Following World War II, representatives of 50 countries signed the U.N. Charter, which acknowledged that maintaining peace is connected with improved social development and social justice.

1964: President Lyndon Johnson declared “war on poverty” in the United States.

1970: The number of people living in extreme poverty peaked at 2.2 billion.

1981: The World Bank began collecting data on global poverty. Mostly through household surveys, they found that 44 percent of the world lived in extreme poverty.

1990: The World Bank defined extreme poverty as people living on $1 or less a day. Around 1.85 billion people, or 36 percent of the world’s population, lived in extreme poverty. Nearly half the population in developing countries lived on less than $1.25 a day.

1992: The U.N. adopted Agenda 21, committing to work together to combat global poverty using country-specific solutions.

1995: The United Nations brought together the largest gathering of world leaders until then, at the World Summit for Social Development, where leaders wrote the Copenhagen Declaration as a pledge to eradicate poverty.

1997: The U.N. General Assembly declared the First U.N. Decade for Eradication of Poverty from 1997 to 2006, taking the commitment from the Copenhagen Declaration and putting it into action.

2000: All 191 United Nations member states signed the Millennium Development Goals, eight goals to achieve by 2015, including reducing extreme poverty rates — then calculated as people living on less than $1 a day — by half.

2008: The World Bank re-established the international poverty line as people living on $1.25 a day, using 2005 prices for the cost of living. U.N. leaders declared the Second U.N. Decade for Eradication of Poverty from 2008 to 2017, expanding on the success of the first decade and focusing on jobs and income generation as a way to combat poverty.

2010: The Millennium Development Goal of reducing the 1990 extreme poverty rates by half was achieved five years earlier than expected.

2012: The U.N. General Assembly adopted a new resolution about the future they want, recognizing that, “Eradicating poverty is the greatest global challenge facing the world today.”

2015: The World Bank raised the international poverty line from $1.25 a day to $1.90, based on 2011 prices for the cost of living. Also, United Nations member states adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, which include goals to end poverty and hunger in all their forms.

FAQs: What you need to know about global poverty

Explore frequently asked questions about extreme poverty, poverty statistics, and learn how you can help end global poverty. Also, find out what the Bible says about poverty.

Fast facts: Global poverty

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How can I help end global poverty?

  • Learn more about World Vision’s work to eradicate global poverty.
  • Pray with us for World Vision’s work around the world using Matthew 25 prayer guides.
  • Give to bring lasting change around the world by delivering life-saving help where it’s needed most.
  • Sponsor a child to help provide access to essentials such as clean water, healthcare, economic opportunity, and education. For $39 a month, you’ll help that child and their community to stand tall, free from poverty.

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What is poverty?

Although poverty is often discussed in terms of dollar amounts, quality of life is also part of the conversation. Living in poverty means a life of struggle and deprivation.

Children living in poverty often lack access to a quality education. Sometimes it’s because there’s not enough quality schools, their parents cannot afford school fees, or because impoverished families need their children to work. Without a quality education, children grow up being unable to provide for their own children — thus the generational cycle of poverty.

Living in poverty also means not being able to afford a doctor or medical treatment. It means no electricity, limited shelter, and often little to no food on the table. For young children, improper nutrition can mean stunting and wasting that permanently impact their development. In impoverished countries where many people lack access to clean water and sanitation, poverty means the spread of preventable diseases and the unnecessary death of children.

Historically, poverty has been calculated based on a person’s income and how much he or she can buy with that income, but new multidimensional measures are more holistic.

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What is extreme poverty?

Since 2015, the World Bank has defined extreme poverty as people living on $1.90 or less a day, measured using the international poverty line. But extreme poverty is not only about low income; it is also about what people can or cannot afford.

Extreme poverty is identified in two ways: absolute poverty and relative poverty.

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What is absolute poverty and relative poverty?

Absolute poverty is when a person cannot afford the minimum nutrition, clothing, or shelter needs in their country.

Relative poverty is a household income below a certain percentage, typically 50 or 60 percent, of the median income of that country. This measurement takes into consideration the subjective cost of participating in everyday life. For example, plumbing is a necessity in some places; without plumbing, a person could be considered impoverished. However, in other places plumbing is a luxury. Relative poverty is useful for considering income inequality within a country.

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What is multidimensional poverty?

Multidimensional poverty acknowledges that poverty isn’t always about income. Sometimes a person’s income might be above the poverty line, but their family has no electricity, no access to a proper toilet, no clean drinking water, and no one in the family has completed six years of school.

looks beyond income to measure a person’s healthcare, education, and living standards to determine poverty levels. It was developed in 2010 by the U.N. Development Program and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.

Within the categories of health, education, and living standards, there are 10 key indicators of multidimensional poverty that include nutrition, child mortality, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing, and assets. If a person is experiencing deprivation in three of more of these standards, then he or she is multidimensionally poor.

The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index offers a thorough look at poverty and can provide guidance for the specific interventions necessary in each country to eliminate poverty.

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How is poverty measured?

Poverty is measured by each country’s government, which gathers data through household surveys of their own population. Entities like the World Bank provide support and may conduct their own surveys, but this data collection is time-consuming and slow. New forms of high-frequency surveys using estimates and mobile phone technology are being developed and tested.

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What is a poverty line, and how are poverty lines calculated?

A poverty line, also called a poverty threshold, is the line below which it is difficult, if not impossible, to afford basic needs. The poverty line is determined in each country by adding up the cost of meeting minimum needs, such as food and shelter. Household incomes that are too low to afford minimum needs, such as food and shelter, are below the poverty line.

The income necessary to afford meeting minimum needs typically sets the poverty line for a country. Poverty lines can then be compared between countries. The international poverty line is the standard poverty line for measuring poverty globally. However, relatively new measures such as the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index include measurements of health, education, and living standards, all as signs of poverty.

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Is the poverty line the same in every country?

Poverty lines are not the same in all countries. In higher income countries, the cost of living is higher and so the poverty line is higher, too. In 2017, the World Bank announced new median poverty lines, grouping countries into low-income, middle-income, and high-income countries and finding the median poverty line for those groups:

  • $1.91 per person per day — in 33 low-income countries
  • $3.21 per person per day — in 32 lower-middle-income countries, such as India and the Philippines
  • $5.48 per person per day — in 32 upper-middle-income countries, such as Brazil and South Africa
  • $21.70 per person per day — in 29 high-income countries

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What is the international poverty line?

The international poverty line, currently set at $1.90 a day, is the universal standard for measuring global poverty. This line helps measure the number of people living in extreme poverty and helps compare poverty levels between countries.

As the cost of living increases, poverty lines increase too. Since 1990, the international poverty line rose from $1 a day, to $1.25 a day, and most recently in 2015 to $1.90. This means that $1.90 is necessary to buy what $1 could in 1990.

In addition to the lowest-income poverty line at $1.90, the World Bank also reports poverty rates using two new international poverty lines: a lower middle-income line set at $3.20/day and an upper middle-income line set at $5.50 a day.

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What is the poverty line in the United States?

In the U.S. for a family a four, the poverty line is $25,100 a year. This means that families who earn less than that cannot afford rent, food, or other basic needs. For an individual in the U.S., the poverty line is $12,140 a year, or $33.26 per day. This poverty guideline is calculated based on information from the Census Bureau and is updated by evaluating recent price changes using the Consumer Price Index.

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What was the war on poverty?

The term “war on poverty” was coined by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. In President Johnson’s first State of the Union address, he acknowledged that one-fifth of Americans were living in poverty and called for “a national war on poverty.” With his war on poverty, President Johnson launched Medicare and Medicaid, expanded social security benefits, solidified the food stamps program, and subsidized school districts with a large share of impoverished students.

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How many people live in poverty?

Recent estimates for global poverty are that 8.6 percent of the world, or 736 million people, live in extreme poverty on $1.90 or less a day, according to the World Bank.

In the United States, 12.3 percent of the population, or 39.7 million people, live in poverty — with an income of less than $33.26 per day — according to the 2017 census.

These numbers are calculated based on income and a person’s ability to meet basic needs. However, when looking beyond income to people experiencing deprivation in health, education, and living standards, 1.3 billion people in 104 developing countries are multidimensionally poor, according to a 2018 survey by the U.N. Development Program.

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What are the root causes of poverty?

The root causes of poverty are not only lack of access to basic necessities of life like water, food, shelter, education, or healthcare. Poverty is also caused by inequities including gender or ethnic discrimination, poor governance, conflict, exploitation, and domestic violence. These inequities not only lead a person or a society into poverty but can also restrict access to social services that could help people overcome poverty.

The places most entrenched in poverty are fragile contexts, which can be entire countries or areas of a country. In fragile states areas, children and communities face higher rates of poverty due to political upheaval, past or present conflict, corrupt leaders, and poor infrastructure that limits access to education, clean water, healthcare, and other necessities.

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What is the cycle of poverty?

Poverty can be a trap. For someone to get out of poverty, they need opportunities such as an education, clean water, medical facilities nearby, and financial resources. Without these basic elements, poverty becomes a cycle from one generation to the next.

If families are too poor to send their children to school, their children will have a difficult time earning an income when they grow up. If a community lacks clean water, women will spend much of their day fetching water instead of earning an income. If medical facilities are far away, a parent loses income every time they take a sick child to the doctor.

Natural disasters and conflict can add to the cycle of poverty or add people to it . When a natural disaster strikes an impoverished community without functional public institutions, families are more vulnerable and often lack basic resources to recover, thus further entrenching a community in poverty or jeopardizing one that had recently emerged.

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How can we end global poverty?

We can help end global poverty by identifying what is causing poverty in a particular community and then determining what needs to change. Because poverty looks different in various places and is caused by different factors, the work to eradicate global poverty varies on the context.

World Vision works with a “Theory of Change” for each community. In partnership with the community members, we determine the desired outcomes for that community and identify key steps to reach that outcome. The desired outcomes might be the same for many communities, but the path to get there depends on the context and the resources available.

Perhaps infrastructure needs to be improved with new schools, medical clinics, or access to clean water. Or maybe, people need more economic resources to help boost their income so they can better provide for themselves and their families. Regardless of the solution, in order to ensure poverty doesn’t return, the work must be sustainable. So, the community must be involved in each step.

To end extreme poverty, the U.N. estimates that the total cost per year would be about $175 billion, less than one percent of the combined income of the richest countries in the world.

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What progress has been made in reducing global poverty?

Since 1990, more than 1 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty and child mortality has dropped by more than half. Reducing extreme poverty rates was a central goal in the Millennium Development Goals — eight goals signed by all United Nations member states in 2000 with a goal to achieve them by 2015. Since then, there has been much progress made in reducing global poverty.

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What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

The Sustainable Development Goals are a plan of action for countries worldwide to unify in a global partnership for the benefit of people, the planet, and prosperity. By 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals aim to end extreme poverty for all people everywhere and at least cut in half the proportion of people living in poverty in all its forms. The United Nations’ member states adopted this goal to end poverty as one of 17 goals in September 2015.

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What is World Vision’s response to global poverty?

Since 1950, World Vision has been working to pull up the root causes of poverty’s weeds and plant the seeds of change. We see the multidimensional reality of global poverty, and so our work targets the biggest challenges: hunger and food security, clean water, health, education, economic empowerment, gender equality, disability inclusion, spiritual poverty, disaster relief, and child protection.

With our donors’ support, in a single year we worked to:

As a child-focused organization, World Vision sees children as a community’s most precious resource and central to addressing poverty. Our development approach focuses on children and seeks to empower their families, local communities, and partners to address the underlying causes of poverty, so children and the community can prosper.

Since poverty is different in each context, World Vision works with communities, families, local leaders, and children themselves to identify solutions and transform lives. We are expanding our focus to fragile contexts because, although they are difficult places to work, they are also where the most vulnerable children increasingly live. By 2030, it is estimated that 80 percent of the world’s extremely poor will live in fragile contexts.

As one of the largest Christian humanitarian organizations in the world, we have the infrastructure, experience, and relationships needed to bring about lasting change. With more than 65 years of fieldwork, we are making fullness of life possible for children and families.

World Vision has 42,000 staff worldwide who work in nearly 100 countries; 95 percent of our staff work in their home regions. Our long-term presence in communities, the trust we establish, and our integrated community development model enable us to address the many of the root causes of poverty.

 

Our work includes four main steps:

    • Listen: We start by following Jesus’ example of coming alongside communities and listening to their unique challenges and needs. We sit down with children, families, churches, and community leaders. Do they need clean water, better schools, a dependable supply of food, basic healthcare, or local jobs? What opportunities do they see?
    • Develop: Next, we work with the community to develop five-year action plans that address the root causes of their poverty and help bring fullness of life for all.
    • Act: Then we help them put it into action. We work with their existing leaders and empower new ones, bringing the community together to address the needs they’ve identified. And if the action plan isn’t working as well as it should, we go back and revise it. This helps communities get what they need such as healthcare, education, clean water, nutritious food, and economic opportunity.
    • Train: We also train them so they know best how to care for and grow these new resources for years to come. When the community has grown healthier, safer, and more self-sustaining, then we transition out and move on to the next community in need. By now, the community is a better place for children to live and grow, they are more equipped to handle emergencies, and they can help their neighbors.

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The post Global poverty: Facts, FAQs, and how to help appeared first on World Vision.

Philanthropic investments advance efforts to end extreme poverty

World Vision has helped impact millions of lives through transformational gifts from philanthropists — evidence of God’s faithfulness. Today, more families have access to clean water along with new hope for healthy futures. Parents are better equipped to earn incomes that meet their children’s basic needs. Children are protected and nurtured, while they are growing in their Christian faith. A new day is dawning for a generation of people.

In the last 20 years, the number of children dying from preventable causes — from hunger, poverty, and disease — has nearly halved, going from more than 30,000 a day to under 15,000. The number of people living in extreme poverty, those living on less than $1.90 a day, has dropped by more than 1 billion.

For the first time in modern history, the world is coming to the collective realization that it is possible to end extreme poverty in our lifetimes. And you can be part of it.

Big gifts, exponential impact

Supporting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, World Vision is dedicated to keeping this momentum going to help end extreme poverty in all its forms, everywhere, by 2030. Driven by a $40 million gift to its water programs by Dana and Dave Dornsife — which Forbes magazine and The Bridgespan Group ranked as one of the top five most promising philanthropic big bets for social change — World Vision announced in September 2015 a commitment to reach everyone, everywhere we work with clean water by 2030.

Find out what draws major donors like Laura Abernathy to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Laura Abernathy visits Florence, 36, and Walter, 37, who live in Uganda and are the parents of seven children. “Right now I face so many challenges,” says Florence. “It’s visible. My children had to drop out of school. They lack clothing. I can’t provide for their basic needs. I have sat them down and advised them not to give birth to so many children. They have seen what I’ve gone through.” (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

“I really get excited at phrases like ‘end poverty by 2030’ and ‘clean water everywhere we work,’” says Laura Abernathy, a World Vision donor partner. “Those big goals may sound like publicity, but when you learn about World Vision and the strategies they have in place, you have faith. I’d hate that to be the headline in the news and not have been part of it.”

Audacious ventures are challenging, but history shows we can succeed.

Together, we have impacted the lives of more than 200 million vulnerable children by tackling the root causes of poverty. From 2010 to 2015, World Vision’s first capital campaign raised nearly $538 million and reached nearly 26 million people. That’s more than 500 people every hour for five years.

Now, World Vision is the leading nongovernmental provider of clean water in the developing world. Every 60 seconds, a family gets access to clean water, a hungry child is fed, and a family receives the tools to overcome poverty.

This incredible success took significant transformational gifts from philanthropists, corporations, and foundations; hundreds of millions of dollars in government grants; more than 60 years of experience in sustainable global development; and scale — more than 42,000 staff working with communities worldwide in nearly 100 countries. Learn the stories of some of World Vision’s generous donor partners:

A 2017 Bridgespan study of 15 of the greatest social impact stories of the 20th century reveals the majority of initiatives took at least 20 years to achieve success and involved at least one philanthropic investment of $10 million or more.

“World Vision has the proven methods we know will help end extreme poverty in our lifetime, the community development model that allows these systemic social changes to last after we leave, and the scale to reach millions upon millions of people with this God-honoring work,” says Chris Glynn, senior vice president of Transformational Engagement at World Vision. “Large philanthropic gifts are the catalyst that drives us to achieve maximum impact.”

You + World Vision’s local staff = help, hope, and love to people in nearly 100 countries.

Find out what draws major donors like Debbie Quesada of Golf Fore Africa to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Debbie Quesada, president and CEO of Golf Fore Africa, visits a new well in Niger. (Photo courtesy of Debbie Quesada)

Betsy King and Debbie Quesada, Golf Fore Africa

  • Investment: $10 million toward water, sanitation, and hygiene in Africa
  • Results: Water projects from this investment are estimated to bring clean water to 200,000 people.

Check World Vision out, but don’t wait. The time is now. You won’t regret it. Whatever commitment you come up with is worthwhile. It’ll not only change the world but change you.—Betsy King, World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer

Professional golf is a male-dominated sport, and for World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King, she can point to golf as the source of the only discrimination she has ever experienced. Growing up, she wasn’t allowed to play on the boys’ golf team. Then as a professional golfer, the money she made was only a fraction of what the men made for equal work.

Recognizing that her financial situation is much different from other women around the world, 62-year-old Betsy says, “I can understand the discrimination women experience. So it’s very important to me to help eliminate it.”

Based on this conviction, Betsy’s retirement from the LPGA tour was anything but a retirement. In August 2005 after 28 successful years and 34 tournament wins, including six major championships, she began a journey to create her own nonprofit, a journey culminating with a goal of raising $10 million over the next five years to help World Vision reach everyone, everywhere we work with clean drinking water by 2030.

Find out what draws major donors like World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King visits a well in Africa. (Photo courtesy of Betsy King)

After her first trip to Africa in 2006 with World Vision to see the impact of poverty and HIV and AIDS on women and girls, Betsy founded Golf Fore Africa in 2007 to link her passion for golf with her compassion for children. Over the next 10 years — with the help of an expanding network of advocates, volunteers, and staff — Golf Fore Africa raised more than $6 million, the majority of which has provided clean water to children and families in Africa. This work is helping to lessen the 200 million hours that women and girls spend daily walking for water for their families.

“The biggest impact I’ve seen is lives changed and livelihoods improved. Healthier children and healthier families,” Betsy says. “I’m pleased with the investment because from back when we first went in 2006 to now 2018, I’ve seen huge improvements. There’s still a lot of work to do, but I’ve seen extreme poverty getting closer to being eliminated. That’s really what we care about — impacting the lives of children.”

Walking alongside Betsy in this journey is Debbie Quesada, president and CEO of Golf Fore Africa, who traveled with Betsy on that first Africa trip to Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia in 2006 and helped Betsy launch Golf Fore Africa.

“We were so impacted by what we saw,” says Debbie, 55. “We came back knowing we could do something.”

Betsy wholeheartedly agrees. She says, “We felt a responsibility. God doesn’t allow you to see something like that and then do nothing.”

Partnering with World Vision was an easy next step. Debbie grew up knowing about World Vision; her grandparents were child sponsors. Betsy had already been partnering with World Vision since 2001, and the pair had already worked together to run an online auction of memorabilia donated by professional golfers, with the proceeds benefiting World Vision.

Betsy and Debbie partnered with World Vision not only because of history, but also because of its scale, scope of work, holistic approach to community development, and emphasis on stewardship.

“World Vision is best at what they do,” Betsy says, “and they have a heart for what they do.”

Find out what draws major donors like World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King with children who have received new backpacks from World Vision. (Photo courtesy of Betsy King)

Since 2001, Betsy and Debbie have each taken close to 20 trips to see World Vision’s work — to see “children given the opportunity to actually be children. To enjoy life in all its fullness. To play. To learn. To not have the burden of fetching water every day,” Debbie says.

They’ve seen the impact not only on children but on families as well.

“There’s dignity when you can provide for your family. It makes you feel good about yourself as a mother or father to be able to care for your children,” Debbie says. “As parents, to be able to give that to your children — it means so much. Then they start caring about their neighbors and their communities. So, it’s not a handout. It’s actually empowering them to care for the work that World Vision does. That holistic approach allows them to care for their families in the way that every parent wants to.”

Throughout their partnership, Betsy appreciates how “World Vision is willing to be critical of themselves and evaluate their work so they can constantly improve.”

In 2015, the University of North Carolina Water Institute announced the results of an independent study examining the key factors affecting the sustainability of water sources in rural Africa. The study found the odds of other organizations’ water sources being functional decreased by an average of 2 percent each year, whereas the functionality of water sources installed by World Vision did not significantly decrease with age.

World Vision is best at what they do, and they have a heart for what they do.—Betsy King, World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer

“They’re willing to listen to donors and outside consultants about how to really do the work,” Debbie says. “That study done by the University of North Carolina is a great example of caring about going back and continuing to see what we can do to improve on this work.”

An identifiable water committee and evidence of charging a fee for use of the water were the main reasons associated with the continued functionality of the water points. In addition to these best practices, World Vision’s community engagement model also includes training local people as mechanics to repair pumps when they break down, contributing greatly to the longevity of World Vision-installed water points.

Find out what draws major donors like World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King pumps water from a well. (Photo courtesy of Betsy King)

“We have been blessed to have committed partners who have made significant transformational investments in our work, allowing us to leverage our unparalleled worldwide reach for its highest and best use,” says Chris Glynn, senior vice president of Transformational Engagement at World Vision. “For example, their support has helped enable us to scale our clean water projects from reaching 200,000 people every year to more than 3 million annually, now reaching one new person every 10 seconds.”

Betsy calls their relationship with World Vision and the progress toward reaching everyone, everywhere we work with clean water as “invigorating.”

“I love the excitement involved with the goal of bringing clean water to everyone in the world,” she says.

Betsy and Debbie realize how World Vision truly expands the reach of Golf Fore Africa.

“What World Vision does that’s really awesome is they invite people to come along with them on a journey,” Debbie says. “So, to be invited on this journey, whether it be on a Vision Trip [to see World Vision’s work] or to partner with them on a water project or an economic opportunity, you’re invited in to do something that you could never do on your own. And to be part of something that’s so big, it’s bigger than yourself. We don’t have a lot of opportunities like that in our lifetime. It’s magical to get to do something like that.”

Every child deserves clean water.

Find out what draws major donors like Stu and Robin Phillips to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Stu and Robin Phillips on their beloved Wyoming ranch they christened Moriah, which means “chosen by God.” (©2012 World Vision/photo by Kari Costanza)

Robin and Stu Phillips, retired lawyer and retired chairman of the board and principal owner of a neurological rehabilitation center

  • Investment: $10 million toward economic empowerment
  • Results: After implementing a little more than half of their investment, nearly $5.3 million, in Malawi:
    • 7,856 smallholder farmers have improved their agricultural practices using improved seeds, crop storage, and increasing their yield per hectare.
    • 13,418 participants have access to financial services through savings groups and/or microfinance.
    • 9,461 smallholder farmers have increased their produce sales prices by accessing local and regional markets.
    • 39,045 hectares have been planted with new trees and/or regenerated.
    • 1,920 smallholder farmers are receiving early warning information to prepare them for natural events (drought or flooding) or market price fluctuations.
    • 6,000 participants have received empowered worldview training.

Start with the foundation of prayer. Do your research. Ask God for guidance. And if called to this work, contribute in every way you can: time, talent, and treasure. But when conflict arises between your analysis and the heart God calls you to apply, always go with your heart.—Stu Phillips, retired chairman of the board and principal owner of a neurological rehabilitation center

In 2010, when rereading The Hole in Our Gospel while spending time at Moriah Ranch, his family’s 14,000-acre vacation getaway in Wyoming, Stu Phillips heard God ask him what possession he valued most. Looking at his surroundings, he instantly knew the answer — Moriah Ranch.

 

Empowering people to care for themselves and advocating on behalf of the vulnerable have been lifelong passions for Robin and Stu Phillips. They describe the blessings God has provided them as numerous, extraordinarily powerful, and, as they have discovered, requiring obedience.

“God had gone out of his way to make it clear from the beginning of our business that he was the one who was enabling us to proceed, grow, and thrive,” says Stu, 65. “So because of his intervention early on and his engagement after that, he had prepared us for the time when he was going to ask for those resources to be used in a different way. He’s an amazing God.”

Now, God was calling them to sell their most prized possession to become more actively involved in what they believe is the greatest systemic social issue of our time — extreme poverty.

“As a businessperson, you tend to approach things analytically, as an intellectual process,” Stu says. “God isn’t impressed with your intellect. He breaks your heart. From there, he uses the strengths you have to fulfill his purposes. And God made it clear he wanted me to use the resources he had provided.”

At first, Stu and Robin questioned the validity of the call. They tried negotiating with God, reasoning — among other things — that the ranch was a legacy for their sons, but none of the excuses offered any comfort.

“We only had [Moriah] because he had provided the resources,” Stu says. “So, if God wanted it for his purposes now, it is our responsibility to provide it.”

Recognizing that the ranch was God’s possession, Robin and Stu sold Moriah, which means chosen by God, to the State of Wyoming in April 2012. They dedicated the total of their proceeds from the ranch, including the original purchase price, to eliminating extreme poverty.

Find out what draws major donors like Stu and Robin Phillips to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Stu and Robin Phillips have traveled to Africa to see World Vision’s work. (Photo courtesy of the Phillips)

“We’re ordinary people who are being obedient to what God has asked us to do,” says Robin, 64. “People talk about our gift as sacrificial. And in some sense, it was sacrificial because it involved taking something away from our children that we had implied to them would be theirs when we were gone. That part was difficult.”

However, over the following years, they’ve watched God work in mysterious ways to honor their obedience — both in their lives and in the lives of people who have heard their story.

“Recently, we met a Rwandan woman farmer at a project site we had funded,” Robin says. “She told us that in the past, she had not been able to feed her children a meal every day or pay school fees among other challenges. But then she told us about participating in World Vision’s economic empowerment work. She said, ‘I thank God, World Vision, and this project because with what I have been taught, and what I know now, I am not in poverty anymore, … and I will never go back!’ That mother is now an empowered woman who is fulfilling her God-given role as her children’s mother with knowledge, confidence, and joy.”

A deeply personal moment for them occurred while visiting Tanzania to see the impact of their transformational investment. Robin and Stu found places where they looked around and if they didn’t know better, they would have thought they were back at Moriah.

“One of the first times we were in Tanzania,” Robin says, “we’re literally on a different continent, but there are certain places that when we saw them, we just looked at each other and smiled. It’s surprisingly so like Wyoming! It feels to us, that Moriah Ranch is in some strange way here in Tanzania. To us, it was a unique confirmation from God.”

It was another gift from God — from the aromatic vegetation that reminded them of sage to the similarity between elk and kudu. No one but them at the time understood the significance of what they were seeing.

Find out what draws major donors like Stu and Robin Phillips to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Stu and Robin Phillips join a community in prayer. (Photo courtesy of the Phillips)

“Those are grace gifts only God can provide,” Stu says, explaining that God’s economy is far different from ours. “Nobody puts that on a spreadsheet.”

Robin says that it doesn’t get any better than seeing the faces of the children Moriah’s proceeds were helping.

“[God] asked me to surrender something great in order to receive something greater,” Stu says. “He wanted to remind me that there is no vista, no place, no possession more beautiful than the face of a child.”

When one of their sons later traveled with them to Rwanda, Robin remembers he said, “I finally get it. I know why you wanted to do this. I thought my legacy was always going to be the ranch. But now I see that the children of Africa and these people, this is the legacy for our family.”

Longtime sponsors of several children, Robin and Stu are also members of World Vision’s National Leadership Council — a core group of passionate and influential donor partners.

[God] asked me to surrender something great in order to receive something greater. He wanted to remind me that there is no vista, no place, no possession more beautiful than the face of a child.—Stu Phillips, retired chairman of the board and principal owner of a neurological rehabilitation center

“For me, World Vision and seeking to eliminate extreme poverty was a calling,” Stu says. “When that happens, you’re confronted with a fundamental decision. Are you going to listen and obey God, try to ignore him, or try to substitute your own plan? Ignoring God is like all our sins; it limits what God can do in us and through us. As to our plans versus God’s plans, God’s plans are always better. Fundamentally, there is no greater purpose, no greater honor, and no greater joy than to know that God is actively using you to fulfill his purposes.”

Their investment of time and treasure toward World Vision’s economic empowerment work has supported the development and expansion of THRIVE — Transforming Household Resilience in Vulnerable Environments — a program that focuses on family-level change and is proven to dramatically increase household incomes, resulting in stronger and more self-sufficient families.

Find out what draws major donors like Stu and Robin Phillips to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Stu Phillips shows children a photo on his phone. (Photo courtesy of the Phillips)

“The potential scale of your impact isn’t regional. It’s not even national. It’s global,” Stu says. “When, as a donor, you’re looking at return on investment and social impact, scalability is one of the things you have to consider. World Vision is the premier Christian organization serving the poor, and it is unique in its willingness to not only use our financial assets but our time and our talent as active partners in the process.”

One aspect of THRIVE that Robin and Stu are particularly excited about is the foundation of a biblically empowered worldview, based on the understanding that each person is created in the image of a loving and redeeming God, is accountable for their actions, and has the power to shape their own future. That is the first and most critical transformational step in eliminating extreme poverty.

“God doesn’t ever ask us to give more than we can give or to give something we don’t have,” Stu says. “Because we’ve been blessed the way we have, we have greater responsibility to demonstrate our appreciation for the blessings he’s shown us.”

Help build improved and resilient livelihoods for smallholder farmers and their families.

Find out what draws major donors like Laura and Robert Abernathy to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Laura and Robert Abernathy teach Sunday school at Buhimba Christian Fellowship in Uganda. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Laura and Robert Abernathy, retired nurse and retired healthcare CEO

  • Investment: $6 million toward mother and child health (includes a recent $1 million pledge)
  • Results: Their $5 million investment (impact of new $1 million pledge is pending based on upcoming programmatic decisions) will help provide healthcare and nutrition services for nearly 500,000 women and children in Somalia, Uganda, and Zambia. It will also contribute to:
    • Training and equipping more than 4,700 community health workers and volunteers to provide care and education to children and pregnant women who may otherwise not have access to healthcare
    • Equipping 600 faith leaders as advocates and educators for improving mother and child health in their communities
    • Supporting 34 clinics in Uganda with nurse and midwife training, delivery kits, hand-washing equipment, and improved conditions for safe delivery
    • Launching a new program, BabyWASH, in 10 facilities in Uganda and Zambia; includes renovations of maternity wards, medical equipment and supplies, piped clean water to delivery rooms and postnatal areas, toilets, and other sanitation improvements

It never says in the Bible to care for the least of these only if you get a good return on your investment, but you do want to know that your money is being utilized in the most efficient way possible to help the least of these. And World Vision does that.—Robert Abernathy, retired healthcare CEO

Laura and Robert Abernathy had no idea what God had in store for them when their neighborhood Bible study read The Hole in Our Gospel by World Vision U.S. President Emeritus Rich Stearns. A little more than five years later, as they reflect on that time, Laura, 61, says, “It really touched our hearts. Both Robert and I have been Christians since we were children and been involved in mission projects, mission programs, our churches, and other organizations. But we were convicted that we were not really touching the least of these.”

Within six months of that deep conviction from the Holy Spirit, Laura and Robert joined World Vision’s National Leadership Council and made their first transformational philanthropic gift to World Vision.

“We were all-in,” says Robert, 63, a former senior vice president at Kimberly-Clark Corporation and most recently the retired CEO of Halyard Health Inc.

Find out what draws major donors like Laura and Robert Abernathy to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Laura and Robert Abernathy talk with Jennifer Nyirmbe, 22. At the end of the visit, they gave her a lovely blue dress. Jennifer developed fistula problems after the loss of her baby during a difficult, prolonged delivery. Soon after this visit, in October 2016, Jennifer had successful fistula repair surgery at a surgery camp organized by World Vision. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

In their excitement, Laura and Robert told their adult children, Elizabeth and James, about World Vision and its child sponsorship programs. They were surprised to find out that both of them had sponsored children already.

“We now sponsor two little girls. We chose them — it’s so hard to choose — because they have the same birthdays as our two little granddaughters,” Laura says. “We pray for our sponsored children as we pray for our granddaughters. And we celebrate their lives as we do our granddaughters.”

But that transition to becoming all-in came with due diligence.

“We’ve seen a lot of organizations have bold visions,” Robert says. “And then when you dig a little deeper, they’re under-resourced, or they can’t get the job done.”

What were they looking for? A Christian-based organization.

“Our giving is all about faith,” Laura says. “It’s not ours to begin with. Robert’s been blessed. We’ve been blessed.”

Robert says they clearly saw World Vision was Christian-based from the start.

“You don’t have to read much further than the first 10 lines of The Hole in Our Gospel to know,” Robert says. “You see it in the people you meet, the staff members. It’s written into the mission and vision of the organization.”

Next came a closer look at World Vision’s finances to make sure they felt good about how their investment would be utilized.

“I wanted to know how much money actually gets to the poor,” Robert says. “I’ve seen organizations where less than 20 percent gets to where it’s supposed to go. And I’ve seen organizations that say they give 96 percent, and then you dig through it, and it’s really more like 46 percent; they count the money funny.”

Find out what draws major donors like Laura and Robert Abernathy to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Laura Abernathy holds a baby while on a trip to Uganda. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

In 2017, 85 percent of World Vision’s total operating expenses were used for programs that benefit children, families, and communities in need. Then World Vision multiplies the impact of every $1 donated into $1.30 on average.

“Once you really get into World Vision and understand it at a deeper level, you start to understand the multiplying effect,” Robert says. “World Vision is able to take your gift and then leverage it with corporations, foundations, and government grants. They really can multiply your gift many times, and not many organizations are able to do that. You don’t feel like what you give is just a one-time investment. It feels bigger.”

Laura adds, “We are told not to bury our talents, but to multiply them.”

Financially speaking, World Vision also helps round out their investment portfolio.

“It helps fulfill the rest of the picture for us,” Robert says. “We’re involved in our local community. We’re involved in our church. World Vision is the organization that allows us to connect in a Christ-like way to the world.”

Lastly, they looked for the ability to get results using winning strategies. World Vision’s proven, community-based health approaches aimed at the first 1,000 days of life feature basic health interventions for mothers and babies, including a sharp focus on nutrition (the 7-11 model) and the delivery of timed and targeted counseling and education through local volunteer community health workers who are trained and supported by World Vision.

We are so fortunate that World Vision is an organization that desires to partner with donors. It’s one of the few places where you can give money and be part of what your money’s doing.—Laura Abernathy, retired nurse

Over the last five years, 89 percent of the severely malnourished children World Vision treated made a full recovery — far above the industry standard of 75 percent or greater. In addition, World Vision supports one of the largest community health worker networks in the world, with more than 220,000 in over 48 countries who can reach 66 million people. They are trusted by the community and are able to reach remote villages, delivering frontline care cost-effectively.

“When we decided to give [to World Vision], we knew of terrible, terrible situations that were in desperate need of help,” Laura says. “So, there was no need to wait.”

Over the span of Robert’s corporate career, their family moved 17 times, at one point living overseas in Australia. Robert has traveled to more than 130 countries and with each trip has brought back stories of desperate situations to his family.

Find out what draws major donors like Laura and Robert Abernathy to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Donors sing “Amazing Grace” and then pray in a circle with
Josephine Bingi, 63, who makes 650 banana pancakes every Sunday to sell for income that helps her care for 13 orphans she’s raising on her own. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

To see World Vision’s work in action, Laura and Robert have traveled to Zambia and Uganda.

“You see the quality of the World Vision staff in country and the number of community volunteers who are supporting that,” Robert says. “You come away saying, ‘I can see change happening — not continent by continent all at once, but community by community over time.’”

They’ve not only seen World Vision’s work in mother and child health, but also clean water, economic empowerment, education, child protection, Christian discipleship, and ultimately, how those sectors work together to form a holistic community development model.

“They’re so interrelated,” Laura says. “I visited several health clinics that were without electricity. And then I was able to go back three years later and see the difference — see a facility with clean water, electricity, and solar power.

“One nurse midwife — instead of being on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week — has a staff and can actually sleep at night on occasion. Then to hear how malaria rates have gone down to almost zero. HIV and AIDS have been greatly reduced. To hear those very distinct measurements, it wasn’t just looking better; it was measurably better.”

Since Robert’s retirement mid-2017, Laura says they “have the time to do more and want to do more.”

And they have — Robert recently joined the World Vision U.S. board of directors. He describes their relationship with World Vision as spiritual, rewarding, and challenging.

“You don’t increase your commitment if you’re dissatisfied,” Robert says.

And they’re thankful for the partnership World Vision has offered to them.

“We are so fortunate that World Vision is an organization that desires to partner with donors,” Laura says. “It’s one of the few places where you can give money and be part of what your money’s doing.”

Help eliminate preventable deaths among mothers and children.

Since the Syrian civil war officially began March 15, 2011, families have suffered under brutal conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, torn the nation apart, and set back the standard of living by decades. Today 13.1 million people in the country need humanitarian assistance.
This informal tent settlement in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley houses Syrian refugees. Families build shelters with wood frames and plastic tarps on land they rent. Here, World Vision has provided families with toilets, water tanks, water, and works with the World Food Program to provide food assistance. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Dan and Aimee F., financial industry

Do your due diligence like we did. Meet the people. Look at the numbers. Do the math. You’ll find that this is a very, very good place to invest your charitable dollars.—Dan F., financial industry

Over the past 15 years, Dan F. has gradually become well acquainted with World Vision’s work and staff by investing in multiple community development sectors, including economic empowerment and water, sanitation, and hygiene. That gradual relationship has coincided with becoming more and more confident in World Vision.

“When you see the numbers line up and then you are impressed by the quality of World Vision’s staff, it’s pretty easy to pull the trigger on some larger investments,” says Dan, now 40. “I am confident that our money is being put to good use and is making a significant difference in people’s lives.”

On a trip to Zambia in 2010, Dan not only visited a well he’d paid for but also met the community members who are benefiting from the water project. He saw how World Vision partners with communities for sustainable change.

“The community members I met in Zambia take tremendous pride in their new well because they are actively engaged in the full process of planning, implementation, and maintenance,” Dan says. “Instead of treating people like helpless victims, World Vision invests in them, trains them, and builds up their capacity to continue driving their lives forward. They are the protagonist of the stories, and we are the supporting cast who helped them achieve their goals. It is amazing to see.”

Halfway through his journey with World Vision, he met his wife, Aimee. She says that being involved with World Vision is so important to Dan, and she has learned more and more about the organization through him.

“I soon became just as impressed with World Vision and the good work they do as Dan is,” says Aimee.

Before 2015, the vast majority of Dan and Aimee’s generous donations were allocated to long-term community development projects in stable countries. That all changed right after their first child’s birth — when they first learned about the Syrian refugee crisis.

“I found myself spending a lot of time glued to the news coverage, cradling our newborn, and crying over the stories and images I was seeing,” Aimee says. “Dan and I agreed to focus as much giving as we could to support World Vision’s aid efforts in the region. It was the first time I’d ever felt that I wasn’t completely powerless to help people so far away who are suffering in such a dire situation.”

 

World Vision has been working in the Middle East for nearly 40 years and extended a helping hand to Syrian families beginning in 2011 when the Syria civil war began.

“World Vision is equipped to help in ways we never could, and our support, combined with many others, is making this possible,” Aimee says.

Dan and Aimee have continued to serve the most vulnerable in their hour of greatest need. They now allocate a large portion of their family’s charitable investment portfolio to World Vision’s work in emergency relief and fragile contexts — where extreme poverty stubbornly resists solutions, but also where they recognize a dollar can have a “radical impact.”

Dan explains, “It’s riskier giving money to places like Syria or South Sudan, but there is so much suffering and so little help. I think of it as a high-risk, high-reward investment, but a short-term focus. It’s a very different mentality than I started off with WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene).”

You can give to the amateurs, or you can give to the people that have been really perfecting this for the last [nearly] 70 years. World Vision is a very impressive team that takes a scientific approach.—Dan F., financial industry

With his background in the financial industry, Dan equates work in emergency relief and fragile states as credit card debt the world needs to pay off and community development work as the long-term investment portfolio.

“You need to pay off your credit card balance each month while building your long-term investment portfolio,” Dan says. “In the last couple of years, the magnitude of short-term needs has been so startling. Every dollar you can put in — it’s going to alleviate a tremendous amount of suffering today and help prevent a situation that’s already really bad from spiraling into something much, much worse.”

In the past decade, the number of people affected by emergencies has almost doubled, and this number is expected to keep rising. World Vision is uniquely situated to respond to any disaster or humanitarian emergency — anywhere in the world — from immediate life-saving supplies when disaster strikes to long-term recovery work so people can rebuild their lives.

“You can give to the amateurs, or you can give to the people that have been really perfecting this for the last [nearly] 70 years,” Dan says. “World Vision is a very impressive team that takes a scientific approach.”

In 2017 alone, World Vision staff around the world, 95 percent of whom work in their home region, responded to 170 emergencies and assisted approximately 13.8 million people in 56 countries.

Millions of people in East Africa are experiencing chronic hunger and the threat of famine. Conflict, recurring severe drought, and high food prices are to blame. In a recent development, more than 800,000 people have fled their homes due to violence in south Ethiopia since the beginning of 2018. They are in desperate need of assistance.
World Vision distributes food in Turkana, Kenya, during the East Africa hunger and food crisis. There has been very little rain in Turkana, with drought cycles becoming more and more frequent. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

“From the crisis relief standpoint,” Dan says, “it makes a really big difference to me that when something goes wrong somewhere in the world, whether it’s a hurricane or war or famine, it seems like a lot of organizations fly in and try to help, but World Vision is usually already there, and they’ve already been there for decades.”

Dan and Aimee see their investment as an opportunity to live out the radical message of Jesus by helping people in the most desperate situations.

“Probably the best way to introduce people to Christ is by living out compassion,” Dan says. “There are a lot of people in the world right now who are very turned off by Christians. They have good reason to be. But when we go out and we really try to minister to the least of these — the people that are on God’s heart — we’re showing people an image of God that’s a lot more accurate than the image they’re seeing in the media.”

Overall, Dan and Aimee are focused on making sure everything they invest in is a cause they really believe in. They say they feel a God-given responsibility to be part of God’s kingdom in terms of alleviating suffering throughout the world and a high accountability for how they do so.

“We’ve come to our current charitable portfolio by really thinking about where our dollars should go first and then thinking about the most trustworthy institution to be tasked with deploying these dollars,” Dan says. “We take stewardship very seriously. World Vision is the largest charity in our philanthropic portfolio because we view it, based on our due diligence, to be a very high-quality organization.”

Meet urgent needs of the world’s most vulnerable children.

Find out what draws major donors like Cody Nath of Refined Technologies Inc. (RTI) to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Cody Nath (center, without a hat) and staff members from Refined Technologies Inc. visit a school in Jamastran, Honduras, that received clean water through their generous gift. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Cody Nath, president and CEO of Refined Technologies Inc.

  • Investment: $1.1 million toward water, sanitation, and hygiene projects in Honduras
  • Results: In less than a year, 3,000 people in the Jamastran Valley of Honduras now have clean water. Their gift is expected to support another 34,000 people with clean water.

Our partnership with World Vision is incrementally strategic — growing in strategy, trust, and direct involvement. We’re trying to figure out how can we leverage more and more of what we’re doing as a business to make an impact globally with World Vision.—Cody Nath, president and CEO of Refined Technologies Inc.

Cody Nath, 37, can’t remember a time growing up when his family didn’t have World Vision sponsored children — often two or three at a time. Then at age 14, he traveled with his father, Bill Nath, to Mexico to see World Vision’s work at the time with children living on the streets. Nicaragua came next, then Honduras, and with each trip, the values his parents instilled in him — the importance of missions, prayer, and faithful giving — became ingrained.

In 2001, Bill founded Refined Technologies Inc., a chemical decontamination company providing operational consultancy, chemical cleaning, and mechanical rental services to refineries. Cody succeeded his father as president and CEO in 2016. From the beginning, their mission statement leads with, “Honor God always.” Cody explains that this means everything from operating under biblical principles like honesty, integrity, and respect to reinvesting profits for eternal impact into ministry partners like World Vision.

“We believe our company belongs to God, and we are simply stewards,” Cody says. “We’re responsible to him for how we use the profits from the business. And as Christians, we know we’re called to give.

Find out what draws major donors like Cody Nath of Refined Technologies Inc. (RTI) to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Cody Nath and staff members from Refined Technologies Inc. celebrate providing clean water to a community in Honduras. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Beyond the calling, Cody finds the opportunity to give extremely rewarding. “It blesses us,” he says. “We end up benefiting because we’re now giving as a team instead of giving as a family — that’s a very rewarding experience. The Nath family is only a piece of this; we earned these profits as a Refined Technologies team.

“I also want to encourage our team to give and know that they’re part of something much bigger than refinery services. And I know that’s happening because of the stories I hear from our team. When people come to work for us because of what we’re about, then I know it’s making a difference.”

For Cody, it’s not about work-life balance; it’s all about work-life integration, focusing on incorporating your philanthropic values into your job.

Cody’s vision is to engage RTI employees by providing numerous ways for them to participate in the partnership with World Vision and emphasizing how excellent work enables the partnership — employees delivering their daily work translates to dollars for water. Opportunities for employees to get involved include paying a portion of sponsorship for Honduran children, taking brief RTI-sponsored trips to Honduras to see World Vision’s work toward ending the water crisis, distributing co-branded water bottles to clients and partners to share their commitment to help make a difference, and walking in World Vision’s annual Global 6K for Water.

“When people know that what you do matters, it’s not just a job. That changes lives,” Cody says. “Our employees would say they’re different people from having worked and spent time here. And their families are different. World Vision is part of that. It’s an aspect of what we do to try and be our whole selves at work.”

During a trip to Honduras about five years ago, solving the global water crisis became a personal mission for Cody. Confronted with the reality of a community’s water source in western Honduras near Gracias, Cody saw dirty water like he’d never seen before — dirt-ridden suds had left a thick film on the surface. “It was terrible — like all the horrible photos you’ve seen,” Cody says. “If it’s within your power, you’re not going to walk away without doing something to help.”

Find out what draws major donors like Cody Nath of Refined Technologies Inc. (RTI) to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Cody Nath and staff members from Refined Technologies Inc. gather around a new water tank in Jamastran, Honduras, that their gift funded. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

So Cody integrated his personal mission with his work at RTI. Over the past five years, Cody broadened his investment to water, sanitation, and hygiene projects, culminating in a $1.1 million gift to World Vision made in 2017.

“Like any relationship, the level of investment grows over time,” Cody says. “Trust grows over time, and results are a big piece of it. You can see the results, which gives us confidence in our investment.”

Generous philanthropic gifts like that from Cody and RTI have enabled World Vision to reach 10.4 million people with clean water in the last two and a half years and remain on track to reach everyone, everywhere we work with clean water by 2030 — an estimated 50 million people. World Vision is a proven leader in solving the global water crisis, reaching one new person every 10 seconds.

“What I really like about World Vision, and why we’ve gotten more involved, is the holistic approach,” Cody says. “This is a development model that helps people develop physically, emotionally, and spiritually. World Vision launches an effort and lets the community drive it forward as their own.”

World Vision believes in a big-picture approach to helping communities address critical needs — bringing together all of the pieces — nutritious food, clean water, economic opportunities, healthcare, education, protection, and the love of Jesus — for a full solution to the puzzle of poverty.

 

“World Vision is a place where you can make a significant financial investment,” Cody says. “No investment is too big. They have the structure and organization to effectively use your gifts as they grow over time.

“World Vision has the organizational capacity to execute investments to scale and always with a spiritual, Christ-centered focus. If you don’t have a spiritual component, it’s helpful, but not life-changing.”

Cody’s life-changing investment truly hit home in January while traveling to the Jamastran Valley of Honduras to celebrate bringing clean water to 3,000 people in two communities — Sartenejas and Zamorano.

“Being part of a visibly transformative project that can happen in under a year to dramatically change the lives of people — it’s not a difficult concept to say we should do more of that,” he says. “So then we ask ourselves, ‘How can we increase our giving as a company and as individuals?’”

World Vision has the organizational capacity to execute investments to scale and always with a spiritual, Christ-centered focus. If you don’t have a spiritual component, it’s helpful, but not life-changing.—Cody Nath, president and CEO of Refined Technologies Inc.

He also recognizes that the project was not without its learnings and challenges.

“World Vision does a good job of managing, ‘This is what we said we were going to do. This is what the challenges were, and this is what we accomplished,’” Cody says. “It’s not like everything goes smoothly. We’re dealing with developing countries and clean water projects that have never existed before. So there’s learnings; there’s challenges.”

But beyond challenges, he has confidence in the sustainability of World Vision’s water projects. “When we spend an investment on a project like Jamastran, I feel very confident the project will still be helping people in 20 years,” Cody says. “They now have clean water for life, not clean water for a year. Our confidence in the local World Vision team is very high due to their capabilities, character, and commitment.”

Now he’s looking forward to additional development work for the families and children he has come to know.

“We know that when we invest in water with World Vision, that’s going to lead to additional community development,” Cody says. “We didn’t leave Jamastran in January thinking, ‘Great, we’re done.’ We know the local communities are committed to continued development and the many challenges that lie ahead. We also realize there are many more communities in need of getting started on their development journey, and we’re eager to be involved. We look forward to an enduring partnership with World Vision and seeing families changed in Jesus’ name.”

Every child deserves clean water.

‘One of the best investments you’ll ever make’

Anne and David Grizzle
Anne and David Grizzle. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger)

David is an aviation consultant and the retired Chief Operating Officer for the Federal Aviation Administration. His previous roles include serving as the FAA’s chief counsel and as the senior vice president of customer experience for Continental Airlines. In addition, he also spent a term working for the U.S. Department of State in Kabul, Afghanistan, as attaché, senior advisor, and coordinator for transportation and infrastructure. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. David and his wife, Anne, are part of World Vision’s National Leadership Council. They live in Washington, D.C. and have three sons and seven grandchildren.

When it comes to supporting charitable enterprises, I tell people that I’ve never made a single donation, but I’ve made lots of investments. Investors want to see a return. Stories can be moving and put a personal face on need, but data is critical. Good intentions aren’t enough. I want efficacy. It is because of the unique product that World Vision offers that Anne and I overweight our investments in this organization.

World Vision is holistic. They offer a multi-faceted approach to reducing poverty and its brutal effects on children, families, and entire communities. As a result, they’re more effective than most other organizations working in the field, which only work on one or two causes and cannot address the complex puzzle of poverty.

They’re collaborative. Some organizations aren’t interested in partnerships — they tend to dictate to the communities they’ve come to help. In contrast, when World Vision comes into a new place, they work alongside community members to bring about sustainable, long-lasting change. This inclusive approach sets World Vision apart.

Few other organizations have the history, experience, or sheer size of World Vision. They’re big and their roots run deep. All around the world they have access, reliability, and credibility. They’re a trusted partner with local communities, national governments, and global partners. An example of this is World Vision’s work in the most fragile of places, like Syria, where other NGOs have a hard time going. World Vision can be transformative there because they’ve been transforming for nearly 70 years, committed to learning and growing and adapting. I’m living proof that being big and old is not necessarily a good thing, but World Vision uses those two attributes to tremendous advantage throughout the world.

Most importantly, World Vision is Word-of-God–empowered. They’re reliant upon God’s word, employing a biblically empowered worldview. God calls us to be good stewards — to take personal responsibility for our assets, talents, family, and community. If you care about serving the poor in the name of Jesus and you want to see comprehensive work crafted on biblical principles, World Vision may be your only alternative.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.—Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

There are opportunities for all types of investors, no matter your passion or risk tolerance. World Vision offers low-risk “blue chip” programs like drilling wells for more cautious donors, and venture capital investments like THRIVE for the more entrepreneurial. There are also options for return periods — from flash returns like water and emergency relief to long-term projects in economic empowerment and education, where results build over time for powerful and lasting change.

World Vision is also unique because of its significant absorption capacity. They make it easy for major donors to make the larger contributions that stewardship often demands of those of us who have been blessed with great means. Few organizations outside of universities or hospitals are equipped to accept and utilize substantial donations effectively. No other operating organization focused on eliminating poverty has the absorption capacity of World Vision.

What’s holding you back? Fear of Better Options (FOBO)? Some investors may be waiting to give, thinking they might discover a more efficient mechanism out there for the work World Vision is doing. It’s conceivable that you might find one, down the line. But right now, there’s a child dying every five seconds — most often from causes we can help prevent. The good news is that God is not sitting still. He is doing deals right now that you should want to be part of. But keep in mind, once a well has been drilled or a program has been launched, that IPO is closed. Rather than FOBO, you ought to be suffering from FOMO — Fear of Missing Out.

World Vision belongs in every charitable portfolio. We can’t ignore Jesus’ example or the incredible work being done by Bill and Melinda Gates — poverty reduction must be a high priority for all of us and good stewardship demands significant investments. The weighting in different portfolios will depend on each investor’s passions, time frame, and capacity. But the simple truth is this: donors — especially high net worth individuals — need to strongly consider graduating to World Vision. My hope is that right now, when you look at where you are in your lives, and when you look at eternity, you’ll discern the right place for World Vision in your investment portfolio.

You + World Vision’s local staff = help, hope, and love to people in nearly 100 countries.

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