Give Water. Give Life.

Key Club’s efforts to help solve the Swaziland water crisis


The Swaziland Flag (Photo courtesy Wikipedia via Creative Commons)

Kelly Cooke and Rylee Pledger, Authors

Swaziland, a country in Africa, is experiencing a water crisis. According to Alexandra Barton, a writer for The Water Project, “40 percent of the population does not have access to clean water.” This meaning that almost half of the people in Swaziland are either dying of dehydration, or they are drinking dirty water and potentially getting sick. A saddening number and reality.

Drilling has occurred in the country of Swaziland since 1986, yet 90% of the water projects are not currently working. The people of Swaziland have long struggled with their access to clean water, and it has sparked disease and health problems throughout the community. These health issues include waterborne diseases, HIV, and AIDS. According to the Thirst Project, “Most people don’t realize or talk about the relationship between access to safe, clean water and HIV/AIDS, but it is huge. Water plays an incredibly critical role in effectively treating and managing AIDS – especially in rural communities. Even if people have access to medical treatment or antiretroviral medication, but are still forced to drink dirty water from contaminated sources, the diseases in the water people drink will actually kill them faster than AIDS itself.” All of these factors result in an average life expectancy of 48 for the people of Swaziland. Due to this crisis, many have been stepping in to help Swaziland. One of these groups reaching out is Battlefield’s own Key Club.

Key Club has long been one of the largest student-led service clubs in high schools internationally, assisting in various service projects. The club is currently partnering with the Thirst Project and according to Caitlin Nguyen, the President of Key Club, the club is, “working to bring clean water to areas that do not have access to this basic resource. We hope to help give water and give life by raising funds.” A goal that will benefit many. Lastly the president of the club adds, “we hope to raise awareness about the lack of clean water in places like Swaziland,” and to overall encourage people to unite and help make a change.


Key Club’s Lieutenant Governor of Division 2E, Pamela Barrett, is someone who has personally been very invested in this project. Barrett explains why they chose the Thirst Project to partner up with, saying that they did it to, “help end the global crisis for water.” A goal that definitely aligns with The Thirst Project’s own goals. Barrett tells a story of how she was first drawn to this project by saying, “My sister and I went to an event for Key Club and we saw a presentation from one of the Thirst Project’s representatives. After seeing this informative and interesting presentation I came up with the idea to sell the Thirst Project’s bracelets at BHS.” Selling bracelets for the cause is definitely a big part of supplying the money needed to help out The Thirst Project and Swaziland. Barrett adds that, “Every dollar counts to help build a well in Swaziland, and if we can contribute as much as we can raise then we can help the Thirst Project be one step closer to building another well.” A well that has the potential to provide to clean water to many people living in Swaziland.

The Thirst Project comments on the importance of their goal by saying that, “In 2012, we committed to what no one has ever done before, to give the entire nation of Swaziland safe, clean drinking water.” They note that it will cost a little more than $50 Million to accomplish their goal. They add that, they know that it is a lot of money, “but it’s really not that much money considering we are giving an entire country clean water.” The project even left a full decade to accomplish by 2022 what no other organization or people have ever done before.

Barrett and Nguyen both report that these bracelets will be sold for $5 in support for the water crisis in Swaziland. These sales will occur during lunches and are expected to start sometime in May. “Please look out for these sales to help end the global water crisis! Any donation helps,” says Barrett. This week in May will surely be one students will not forget. Make sure to buy a bracelet in support of Swaziland and “Give Water. Give Life” as the bracelets would say.