More than 950 students from Colorado Christian University and 10 other colleges and universities combined forces in April 2009 to raise awareness of the need for clean drinking water in Africa. The students were part of a nationwide experiential initiative held at each of their campuses and called BH2O+, or Be Hope to Her. The campaign was sponsored by Nuru International
(Mountain View, Calif.), a nonprofit, public-benefit charity working to pioneer holistic, sustainable solutions to help end extreme poverty in partnership with the poor. As of May, BH2O+ had raised nearly $37,000, which will enable Nuru, in partnership with Living Water International (Stafford, Texas), to drill four deep water wells at primary schools in the Kuria district of Kenya.
In addition to CCU, participating schools in BH2O+ included Ball State University, Boston College, Gonzaga University, the University of Iowa, Marshall University, Stanford University, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest University, West Virginia University, and Wingate University.
The consumption of contaminated water has been estimated as responsible for approximately 80 percent of all diseases and more than one-third of all deaths in developing nations. The goals of the BH2O+ project include increasing access to safe, sustainable water among poor and vulnerable populations, and providing comprehensive local training to help ensure proper sanitation practices and safe use of the wells. The April event at each campus also featured a rally designed to educate students and community members about the especial hardships women in Africa face for lack of accessible, clean drinking water.
Girls and women in Africa typically spend three hours each day collecting water from distant sources, and then they must filter and disinfect it. In the process, they lose precious time for schooling, family, and work opportunities, and they endure physical stress -- the average African woman carries a bucket of water weighing 44 pounds, balancing it on her head. Each BH2O+ rally culminated with a walk in which students traversed their campuses carrying buckets of water on their own heads to a designated water source, in demonstration of the grueling daily task throughout Africa.