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United Methodist News: Water is Life

Women carry water as the sun rises at Njenjete village near Madisi, Malawi. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
Women carry water as the sun rises at Njenjete village near Madisi, Malawi. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

United Methodist Communications
Office of Public Information

For Immediate Release
October 13, 2020


Nashville, Tenn.: With the International Day of Rural Women approaching on October 15, United Methodist News is shining a light on the important role women in African countries play in providing water for their families through a new photo essay titled "Water is Life."

The story offers a compelling truth: "Millions of people spend almost every moment of their lives seeking water. Millions more do not give it a second thought. Which category you are in depends a great deal on where you were born."

More than 750 million people around the world do not have reliable water access and even fewer have access to water for agriculture and household tasks, according to United Methodist Global Ministries.

The job of collecting the water for drinking, cooking, bathing and laundry often falls to women and girls, who may walk for miles with water from ponds, wells or rivers carried in buckets on their heads. The heavy containers sometimes weigh as much as 40 pounds. According to the United Nations, 80% of households without piped water rely on women and girls for water collection.

The digital photo narrative by United Methodist News photographer Mike DuBose, news writer Kathy Gilbert and multimedia editor Joey Butler, features stunning photography and stories from Liberia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Cote d'Ivoire, and Mozambique. The project was three years in the making. Through visual storytelling, they share the challenges confronted by people in communities without a clean, safe water supply and how The United Methodist Church works to address the water crisis in many countries through water and sanitation projects.

Contaminated water and poor sanitation are linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio, according to the World Health Organization which says 829,000 people are estimated to die each year from diarrhea as a result of unsafe drinking-water, sanitation, and hand hygiene.

The International Day of Rural Women was first observed in 2008 to honor the critical role that women play in ensuring the sustainability of rural households and communities despite the many obstacles they face.


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