A Glimpse Into Our 2022 Impact So Far
April 28, 22
As a small team doing our best to have a big and meaningful impact, we continue to work with grassroots partners and our own teams around the world to increase access to safe water.
From Mexico to Brazil and back, our local teams and trusted partners work ceaselessly to impact the populations who need safe drinking water most—especially in the face of climate instability. Here’s a small glimpse into the work we’ve done so far in 2022.
Mexico Migrant Response
Mexico is home to hundreds of thousands of migrants who have fled their home countries due to extreme poverty, political repression, devastating climate change, and enduring violence.
Tapachula, a southern border city in Mexico, is referred to by locals as the “prison city” because it houses the largest immigration detention center in Latin America. It’s also home to thousands of undocumented migrants who are awaiting asylum in Mexico to be able to cross city borders and continue to their trip north. The majority are living in squalid conditions in public squares, in overcrowded rented spaces, or shelters.
The dangers that migrants encounter once they do start their 2,000-3,000 mile journeys north are also enormous. Women and girls are at even higher risk for violence, rape, kidnapping and illnesses. Add to that, many face significant hygiene deprivation, including lack of access to basics like clean water, soap and menstrual products.
Due to Title 42, a Trump era “public health” policy that essentially closed the border between the US and Mexico—resulting in the expulsion of nearly 1 million asylum seekers back into Mexico—northern border cities like Reynosa now host thousands asylum seekers from around the world. Families live for months and years in makeshift tents, and newcomers sleep on the bare ground, facing daily violence, kidnappings, and lack of adequate access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
For years, LifeStraw has been supporting migrant communities to ensure access to safe drinking water. In January, we donated over 1,000 filters to Green Valley-Sahuarita Samaritans, who provide safe water and other essentials to asylum-seekers crossing the Sonoran Desert. LifeStraw also continues to support long-time partner Solidarity Engineering, who have implemented safe water, sanitation and hygiene programs for migrants during their entire journey. This month, LifeStraw donated 350 filters; Solidarity is currently in Mexico distributing them to asylum-seekers along with personal hygiene kits.
Ukraine Humanitarian Response
As of mid-April, 4.7 million refugees have fled the ongoing war in Ukraine, and an estimated 7.1 million people have been displaced within the country. Approximately 90 percent of the displaced are women and children. Many have been forced to walk and wait in queues for days to escape, facing freezing temperatures, lack of food and water, violence and threat of bombardment. Public infrastructure has also been destroyed, meaning hundreds of thousands are without adequate water, electricity and access to markets.
Since the war began, LifeStraw has been actively working with our colleagues, partners and distributors in Europe to respond to the growing refugee crisis, with safe water and other critical needs. To date, LifeStraw has shipped 16,225 filters and purifiers, to reach over 22,000 people with safe drinking water both to displaced people within Ukraine and refugees in neighboring countries. Thousands more filters have been delivered by our local distributors.
As more infrastructure is destroyed, and humanitarian aid slows down, the need for access to safe water continues to grow. We will continue fundraising and supporting local organizations through filter donations.
Donate now to help us get additional filters to Ukrainian refugees.
South Sudan Flooding
South Sudan is experiencing its worst floods in 60 years. The African continent continues to be the most severely impacted by climate change, and the least developed and politically unstable nations like South Sudan are some of the hardest hit. For years, the country has experienced wetter-than-usual rainy seasons, and even drier dry seasons. Since May 2021 when the severe flooding began, over 850,000 people have been impacted. “Homes, nutrition and health facilities, water sources, schools and markets are submerged, impacting people’s access to essential services, eroding their coping mechanisms and exacerbating vulnerability,” the UN said.
Thousands have been displaced from their homes, and many have no access to safe water—increasing the risk of waterborne disease.
LifeStraw has partnered with Alaska Health Project to deliver 382 donated LifeStraw Family purifiers to some of the hardest-to-reach impacted communities. We’re continuing to work with the nonprofit to design and implement a longer-term climate-resilient safe water program.
Sertao, Brazil Safe Water Program
Climate change is intensifying droughts in Brazil’s northeast, leaving much of the land barren. With roughly 53 million people, the region is the world's most densely populated dry-land, known for droughts and poverty—and things are becoming worse each year. Recent studies estimate that the region’s groundwater is dwindling, impacting not only families’ access to drinking water but also the livelihoods of the majority farming communities.
In January, a team of LifeStraw staff traveled to the Sertão region of northeast Brazil, and along with members of nonprofit Gateway Outreach and local organization Missão Alcance, delivered 438 donated LifeStraw Family purifiers to local households and 5 LifeStraw Community purifiers to four local schools. Baseline data taken with 114 of the households that received purifiers found that 51% of families lacked access to any household water at least one time during the year. The majority of families collect rainwater in large cisterns during the wet season, and utilize this water throughout the entire year for all their daily needs. Only 9.5% of the families stated that they currently filter their drinking water with a filter or purifier, and another 33% occasionally use chlorine to treat. The majority of families simply “filter” water through a cloth to remove any turbidity. Diarrhea and intestinal issues are common amongst the population.
LifeStraw is working with Gateway Outreach and Missão Alcance to scale up the safe water program to reach additional communities.
Since 2019, LifeStraw has partnered with nonprofit Climate Neutral to measure and offset our total carbon footprint—the entire sum of our greenhouse gas emissions. In 2021, we made a public commitment to set science-based targets to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement 1.5̊ warming pathway, and to become climate positive by 2030. In January, we onboarded fellow B Corp Climate Positive Consulting, to support us in better analyzing our climate footprint and developing a roadmap for GHG reductions.