IMPACT
08/19/2014 05:34 pm ET Updated Aug 20, 2014

Proof That The Clean Water Crisis Is A Women's Issue

Roughly 1 billion people in the world don’t have access to clean drinking water. Women and girls, who often bear the burden of searching for clean water sources, are often most affected by this issue.

To kick off its campaign for change, nonprofit group Charity:Water has released a new short film on the dearth of clean water in the Sahel -- "one of the harshest places to live in the world" -- and the toll it takes on the African region's impoverished women and children.

The film zeroes in on Niger and Mali, two countries at the bottom of the United Nations Economic And Social Development Index. According to CW, 58 percent of Niger's rural population and 46 percent of Mali's population lack access to clean water.

In this region, located just south of the Sahara Desert, girls can spend up to four hours every day, often walking for miles, looking for safe water.

According to data collected from UNICEF and the United Nations, the responsibility often makes it "difficult for [girls] to attend school during school hours. The installation of toilets and latrines may enable school children, especially menstruating girls, to further their education by remaining in the school system."

Alleviating the burden of searching and gathering clean water can open up hours in the day for women and children to devote to learning new skills.

"For women in the Sahel, the first step out of poverty begins with clean water," CW says on its website.

Through its fundraising campaign, the group aims to raise $4 million to bring clean water to 100,000 people in the region.

Watch the video above for a sobering glance into the lives of women in the Sahel.

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