Transforming lives through clean water in Madagascar with Aveda Canada

Transforming lives through clean water in Madagascar with Aveda Canada
Image: WaterAid/ Ernest Randriarimalala

Clean Water is ubiquitous to most of us in Canada, with some exceptions in our Northern communities. We never even think about the water we brush our teeth with, cook our pasta in or drink straight from our taps.

Clean Water is rare for some of the communities we visited in Madagascar last October with WaterAid Canada and WaterAid Madagascar.

I recently read a study where scientists have determined that within three days of entering any community worldwide, all the water in our body (we are up to 60% water) is completed replaced by that community’s watershed.  Maybe that’s why we feel such a bond with certain regions of the world. 

In Madagascar, I was not able to experience this as the water is unsafe to consume and we had to drink exclusively bottled water for our safety.  Unfortunately, the Malagasy people in the villages we visited did not have that option.

Janis Aveda 1
Image: Janis McKnight

The burden of gathering this water almost exclusively falls to the women and girls in these communities and can take up to 3 hours or more of their daily routine.  Carrying 20 liter containers, that can weigh up to 45 pounds, puts extreme pressure on their bodies.   Physical safety is a constant worry, as the distances to get water may take them far from their communities.  Due to this, their opportunities for education and business is very limited or non-extinct.

Driving into the communities where Collega Aveda and WaterAid have been able to provide clean water access is incredibly obvious.  The taps, complete with beautiful gate and plants, are centrally located in the community for easier access and provide safety for women and girls. Cutting the time needed to gather water offers girls the time for education and the women of the community the opportunity to start projects that will provide extra income for their families. 

The most emotional moment was watching a young boy under five touch clean water for the first time and a playful young girl pushing him out of the way to drink from this new tap. I knew both now had opportunities that were not there before, and their futures were bright.

Janis Aveda
Image: Janis McKnight

Traveling with the group from WaterAid Madagascar, their passion to change this grim reality for every village and town in Madagascar is very evident and awe inspiring.  We were welcomed in every village with open arms and hearts.  To hear the heartfelt gratitude that every village elder has for Collega Aveda, made me so proud to work with a company who sees the value of investing in WaterAid and the Malagasy people and their future. 

With gratitude and joy
Janis McKnight Aveda Partner for Saskatchewan, Canada