Today we celebrate World Water Day, with an announcement from our friends at Gucci and CHIME FOR CHANGE as well as a progress update from our last trip – the first 35 wells have now been completed! Through BeyGOOD, Beyoncé launched BEYGOO4BURUNDI with UNICEF USA in 2017 to support programs to improve water, sanitation and basic hygiene practices in the hardest-to-reach areas of Burundi, where nearly half the population had no access to safe water.
We're excited to share that Gucci and CHIME FOR CHANGE have officially partnered with BEYGOOD4BURUNDI. Gucci's $1M commitment to the initiative as a founding partner will help support the building of 80 additional wells, providing access to clean, safe water to more than 120,000 women, girls, and their families.
Learn more about Burundi and our progress to date below.
Burundi at a Glance
Poverty: 8 out of 10 people live on less than $1.25 a day
Pop: 11.5 Million -49% under 18 years old
Cause of death in children under 5: Endemic water-born diseases
Water access: 24.5% use unsafe sources for water
Life expectancy: 43 years
Total people in need: 3.5 million
Total children under 18 in need: 2 million
Total population to be reached in 2018: 2.3 million
Total children to be reached in 2018: 1.3 million
Rolling hills, beautiful trees, majestic blue skies, gorgeous people and brick red roads greet you in Burundi. The East African nation's water crisis, in a huge number of provinces, comes as a bit of a shock after a two-and-a-half-hour journey from the capital city, Bujumbura. Everything you see in Ruyigi, Gitega and Rutana provinces is beautiful. The women stand tall in their brightly-colored wraps that serve double duty as fashion accessories and baby cocoons, present first only by the two small feet sticking out just above the mother's hips. The men walk with a purpose, or ride wobbly bikes on their way to farmlands that will produce green bananas, corn, spinach and more. Their harvests result in meals fit for royalty.
What lies right underneath the beauty is a water crisis. The BeyGOOD team returned last November for our second trip to check on the progress of the water wells that are under construction to help solve the crisis. The initiative was spearheaded by Beyoncé, in partnership with UNICEF. Six months after the first fact-finding trip, we discovered real, tangible results.
The people of the provinces gathered to see the first of many gallons of clean, safe water, pump through new pipes that the hands of the people of Burundi built. We saw the love and pride on their faces, as they witnessed the new sources of water built by them and for them.
What a feeling! The goal to have all 35 wells completed by early 2018 is attainable. We visited an intermediate school in the Bubanza province to see how a community can change when there is access to clean, safe water. With their new water source, the school has working bathrooms and cooking stations. What we really saw was happy, healthy, thriving children. We now know that this picture could become the norm in many provinces in Burundi and beyond.
BeyGOOD's mission, with our partners at UNICEF, is to change the lives of those affected by the water shortage. With a water crisis comes problems with health, including acute and chronic malnutrition, and sanitation, all of which lead to a short life expectancy. It also creates an education issue as children living in the affected areas, especially girls, are unable to attend schools that lack clean, safe running water and bathroom facilities. We're ready to shift the narrative.
We are committed because we've seen how quickly change can happen and it feels good to BeyGOOD. We believe water is life and every person has the right to access clean, safe water. Stay on this journey with us and help us in end the water crisis in Burundi.