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The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

You already know that exercise is good for your body. But did you know it can also boost your mood, improve your sleep, and help you deal with depression, anxiety, stress, and more?

Woman exercising on yoga mat

What are the mental health benefits of exercise?

Exercise is not just about aerobic capacity and muscle size. Sure, exercise can improve your physical health and your physique, trim your waistline, improve your sex life, and even add years to your life. But that’s not what motivates most people to stay active.

People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. And it’s also powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges.

Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, and ADHD. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood. And you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a real difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to deal with mental health problems, improve your energy and outlook, and get more out of life.

Exercise and depression

Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication—but without the side effects, of course. As one example, a recent study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%. In addition to relieving depression symptoms, research also shows that maintaining an exercise schedule can prevent you from relapsing.

Exercise is a powerful depression fighter for several reasons. Most importantly, it promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good. Finally, exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.

Exercise and anxiety

Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. It relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins. Anything that gets you moving can help, but you’ll get a bigger benefit if you pay attention instead of zoning out.

Try to notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the wind on your skin. By adding this mindfulness element—really focusing on your body and how it feels as you exercise—you’ll not only improve your physical condition faster, but you may also be able to interrupt the flow of constant …

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7 Health Benefits of Water Backed by Scientific Research

blue glasses of water in the sun

You know you need water to survive, and you feel better when you drink it regularly. But what’s really at play in the body when you sip H2O?

In short, a lot.

Believe it or not, your body weight is about 60 percent water, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it’s important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water.

RELATED: 6 Unusual Signs of Dehydration You Should Know About

The amount of water you need depends on a variety of factors, according to the Mayo Clinic: The climate you live in, how physically active you are, and whether you’re experiencing an illness or have any other health problems all affect recommended intake.

Here are the reasons why water is such a powerful element when it comes to your health.

1. Water Protects Your Tissues, Spinal Cord, and Joints

Water does more than just quench your thirst and regulate your body’s temperature; it keeps the tissues in your body moist, according to the Mayo Clinic Health System. You know how it feels when your eyes, nose, or mouth gets dry? Keeping your body hydrated helps it retain optimum levels of moisture in these sensitive areas, as well as in the blood, bones, and brain. In addition, water helps protect the spinal cord, and it acts as a lubricant and cushion for your joints.

2. Water Helps Your Body Remove Waste

Adequate water intake enables your body to excrete waste through perspiration, urination, and defecation. Water helps your kidneys remove waste from your blood and keep the blood vessels that run to your kidneys open and filter them out, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Water is also important for helping prevent constipation, points out the University of Rochester Medical Center. However, as research notes, there is no evidence to prove that increasing your fluid intake will cure constipation.

3. Water Aids in Digestion

Water is important for healthy digestion. As the Mayo Clinic explains, water helps break down the food you eat, allowing its nutrients to be absorbed by your body. After you drink, both your small and large intestines absorb water, which moves into your bloodstream and is also used to break down nutrients. As your large intestine absorbs water, stool changes from liquid to solid, according to the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Water is also necessary to help you digest soluble fiber, per MedlinePlus. With the help of water, this fiber turns to gel and slows digestion.

4. Water Prevents You From Becoming Dehydrated

Your body loses fluids when you engage in vigorous exercise, sweat in high heat, or come down with a fever or contract an illness that causes vomiting or diarrhea, according to the Centers for

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4 Things Worth Knowing About the Fritz Water Vest

4 Things Worth Knowing About the Fritz Water Vest

We tend to take access to water for granted. We know if we turn on a tap, that water will be clear, safe, and plentiful. When we take a shower, we might run it a little hot and a little too long, and when we brush our teeth, we might keep the water running instead of shutting it off. We are phenomenally fortunate, and we sometimes forget that. In some places in the world, they’re not that fortunate, having to deal with a lack of easy, reliable access to water. As part of ongoing global efforts to improve that situation, the Fritz™ Water Vest is becoming a valuable piece of equipment.Fritz Water Vests

What’s the Fritz™ Water Vest?

It’s right there in its smart, effective name—a wearable vest for storing water. Constructed of two layers of nylon material heat-sealed together, it can carry up to 10 liters of water when full, weighing roughly 22 pounds. Created by Dr. Fritz Yambrach, Director and Professor of Packaging at San Jose State University, it’s a surprisingly simple, striking piece of “appropriate technology”—meaning it’s not hampered by features that distract from what it’s meant to do.

What does the Fritz™ Water vest do?

In developing countries, impoverished areas, or disaster zones, water isn’t always easy to access, especially the clean and potable kind. Sometimes it takes long treks to reach clean water, and those treks can be exhausting and unsafe, especially when carrying large, unwieldy buckets. The Fritz™ Water Vest removes the need for those buckets, thereby saving a wearer’s back and neck, and freeing up their hands for carrying books or tools.

Fritz Water Vests

How does the Fritz™ Water Vest work?

By now you’ve got the gist of it, but it’s the little things that really make this piec

e of packaging technology sing. It’s filled up at rivers, wells, or taps by using the threaded cap, which enables easy filling (and eventual dispensing). That same cap can accept water-filtration attachments, rendering the water safer to use. The wearer puts it on and the vest’s ergonomic design distributes the water weight evenly across the wearer’s torso. This eases the stresses on their body (including the neck, back, shoulders, knees, and ankles). Its nylon material stands up to repeated use, and an anti-microbial property inhibits odor and mildew build-up inside. As a one-size-fits-all vest, it works for children and adults, giving everyone an easier way to handle water retrieval.

Where’s the Fritz™ Water Vest in use?

It’s been tested in Ethiopia, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Burundi. Feedback from those using the Fritz™ Water Vest has been positive and enthusiastic, and locals have even found their own uses for it such as carrying grains and legumes. Thanks to its clear material, warm showers are also possible thanks to body heat and walking home in sunlight. It’s gratifying to know its helping those who can use it most.…

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The Major Benefits Of Having A Water Filtration System In Your House

How to Choose the Whole House Water Filter System for Your Home
The quality of water that we drink, wash our hair and body with, as well as that we use to clean fruits and veggies, has a huge effect on our health. Nowadays, to make sure that the water we use is clean, treatment facilities add chlorine to it, which can be damaging as it may contain harmful bacteria and chemicals that have a negative effect on our health and wellbeing. Tap water passes through water treatment facilities, however, it can get easily contaminated the moment it leaves the treatment facilities. Therefore, the best way to make sure that the water you consume is clean and hasn’t been contaminated is by installing a water filtration system. In this article, we will provide you with the major benefits of having a water filtration system in your house.

Safe to Drink

Installing a water filtration system will ensure that the water you drink is clean, free of contaminants, and safe to drink compared to those coming from water treatment plants without going through a home filtration system. There are many types of contaminants that can be found in water coming straight from these treatment facilities, including chlorine, lead, and fluoride. However, you can avoid the consumption of all these toxins by installing a water filtration system in your house. That way, you and your loved ones will get your daily supply of drinking water without any health risks.

Healthy Skin

Substances that can be found in water, like chlorine and metals, can make skin conditions get worse. Moreover, children are more prone to aggravated skin conditions due to washing with water coming straight from treatment plants. For this reason, you need to make sure that you choose the right filtration system to ensure that your house is well provided with clean and pure water. The team at wellnesswaterfiltrationsystems.com recommends that you seek the help of certified experts to assess the water in your house and help you get rid of all impurities and toxins it contains. An easy way you can validate that they are certified is by checking their website. That way, you will ensure that anyone in the house who has eczema or any other skin condition will not suffer from more damage to their skin.

Cutting Costs

Your plumbing system can get damaged by heavy metals and minerals that are found in unfiltered water. However, installing a water filtration system in your home will reduce plumbing repairs, which will result in reduced repair bills as well. Other than the pipes in your house, some home appliances can get damaged by unfiltered water, like the fridge, washing machine, and dishwasher. Repairing or replacing these appliances can cost you a lot of money! Therefore, to cut costs and reduce your monthly bills, you need a reliable home filtration system to protect your pipes and home appliances from damage.

Preserves the Environment

Drinking bottled water will add to the already huge amounts of plastic waste our planet is suffering from. Plastic is…
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Health Benefits of Water Backed by Scientific Research

The hype around water is warranted. Here’s a handful of ways it does the body good.

blue glasses of water in the sun
You can’t live without water.Marti Sans/Stocksy

You know you need water to survive, and you feel better when you drink it regularly. But what’s really at play in the body when you sip H2O?

In short, a lot.

Believe it or not, your body weight is about 60 percent water, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it’s important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water.

RELATED: 6 Unusual Signs of Dehydration You Should Know About

The amount of water you need depends on a variety of factors, according to the Mayo Clinic: The climate you live in, how physically active you are, and whether you’re experiencing an illness or have any other health problems all affect recommended intake.

Here are the reasons why water is such a powerful element when it comes to your health.

1. Water Protects Your Tissues, Spinal Cord, and Joints

Water does more than just quench your thirst and regulate your body’s temperature; it keeps the tissues in your body moist, according to the Mayo Clinic Health System. Do you know how it feels when your eyes, nose, or mouth gets dry? Keeping your body hydrated helps it retain optimum levels of moisture in these sensitive areas, as well as in the blood, bones, and brain. In addition, water helps protect the spinal cord, and it acts as a lubricant and cushion for your joints.

2. Water Helps Your Body Remove Waste

Adequate water intake enables your body to excrete waste through perspiration, urination, and defecation. Water helps your kidneys remove waste from your blood and keep the blood vessels that run to your kidneys open and filter them out, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Water is also important for helping prevent constipation, points out the University of Rochester Medical Center. However, as research notes, there is no evidence to prove that increasing your fluid intake will cure constipation.

3. Water Aids in Digestion

Benefits of Drinking Water: How It Affects Your Energy, Weight & More

Water is important for healthy digestion. As the Mayo Clinic explains, water helps break down the food you eat, allowing its nutrients to be absorbed by your body. After you drink, both your small and large intestines absorb water, which moves into your bloodstream and is also used to break down nutrients. As your large intestine absorbs water, stool changes from liquid to solid, according to the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Water is also necessary to help you digest soluble fiber, per MedlinePlus. With the help of water, this fiber turns to gel and slows digestion.

4. Water Prevents You From Becoming Dehydrated

Your body loses fluids when you engage

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Packaging Matters: Introducing the Fritz Water Vest

Water is vital for life. Unfortunately, in more impoverished areas it’s not always nearby. People often have to walk long distances for access to clean water, and have to collect it using whatever container they can. Large plastic buckets are usually what’s readily available, but they’re not always sterile or clean. Oil jugs are also a common choice, but even once rinsed out aren’t guaranteed to be oil- or chemical-free.

During the return trip home, these containers tend to be carried on the head. Full of water, they’re heavy and difficult to manage, and can eventually cause chronic health issues. Headaches, neck pain, spinal problems, and even foot and ankle issues become common injuries.

Since people often start collecting water when they’re young, health issues can crop up even sooner. Access to proper health care can be difficult, so preventative care is even more important than treatment after the fact.

So what’s the solution? Introducing the Fritz™ Water Vest.

Developed by Dr. Fritz Yambrach, Director and Professor of Packaging at San Jose State University, he began creating the vest nearly a decade ago. When he saw the difficulty people were having with collecting water, he put his experience in the packaging industry to work on the problem.

Designed to help those in disaster zones or impoverished areas, the Fritz™ Water Vest helps its wearer move water safely and hygienically from its source to their home. Created with two layers of nylon material heat-sealed together, it evenly distributes the weight of its contents across the wearer’s shoulders, chest, and back. It takes the strain off their head and neck and also frees up their hands for carrying tools or other objects.

How it Works

Fill it Up at rivers, wells, and taps using the threaded cap and closure at the bottom of each vest.

Put it On by placing it over the head. The weight of the water will be evenly distributed front and back, easing stress and strain on the body.

Walk with Fritz and head back home, hands-free for carrying tools or books.

The vest is considered “appropriate technology,” meaning it’s not hampered by bells and whistles. It’s designed to carry water safely and it does just that.

Tested in Ethiopia, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Burundi, feedback has been extremely positive. Wearers have even created their own uses for the vest, such as carrying grains or legumes. Warm showers are also a possibility once they’re home, thanks to body heat and walking in sunlight.

Key Features

Ergonomic design distributes water weight evenly

Tough nylon material stands up to repeated use, can be readily repaired

Anti-microbial properties inhibit odor and mildew

Threaded cap enables easy filling and dispensing control

Designed for use with water-filtration attachments

Holds 10 liters of water when full, weighing roughly 22 pounds

One-size-fits-all for children and adults

The Packaging Company is proud to be a supporter of the Fritz™ Water Vest. You can learn more about it, and how you can help, right here.

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Water and Healthier Drinks

Water and Nutrition

Getting enough water every day is important for your health. Drinking water can prevent dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking, result in mood change, cause your body to overheat, and lead to constipation and kidney stones.

Water helps your body:

  • Keep a normal temperature
  • Lubricate and cushion joints
  • Protect your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues
  • Get rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements
Sporty woman drinking water after exercise

Your body needs more water when you are:

  • In hot climates
  • More physically active
  • Running a fever
  • Having diarrhea or vomiting

Most of your fluid needs are met through the water and beverages you drink. You can get some fluids through the foods that you eat – especially foods with high water content, such as many fruits and vegetables.

Tips to Drink More Water

  • Carry a water bottle with you and refill it throughout the day.
  • Freeze some freezer-safe water bottles. Take one with you for ice-cold water all day long.
  • Choose water over sugary drinks.
  • Opt for water when eating out. You’ll save money and reduce calories.
  • Serve water during meals.
  • Add a wedge of lime or lemon to your water. This can help improve the taste and help you drink more water than you usually do.
  • Make sure your kids are getting enough water too. Learn more about drinking water in schools and early care and education settings pdf icon[PDF-3.68MB].

Healthier Drink Options

Of course, there are many other beverage options besides water, and many of these can be part of a healthy diet.  Beverages vary in their nutrient and calorie content.

Low or no-calorie beverages
Plain coffee or teas, sparkling water, seltzers, and flavored waters, are low-calorie choices that can be part of a healthy diet.

Asian boy drinking milk

Drinks with calories and important nutrients
Low fat or fat-free milk, fortified milk alternatives such as unflavored soy or almond milks, or 100% fruit or vegetable juice contain important nutrients such as calcium, potassium, or vitamin D. These drinks should be enjoyed within recommended calorie limits.

Other Beverages

Sugary drinks: Regular sodas, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened waters, and sweetened coffee and tea beverages, contain calories but little nutritional valuepdf iconexternal icon. Learn how to rethink your drink.

Alcoholic drinks: If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

Caffeinated drinks: moderate caffeine consumption (up to 400mg per day) can be a part of a healthy dietpdf iconexternal icon. That’s up to about 3-5 cups of plain coffee.

Drinks with sugar alternatives: Drinks that are labeled “sugar-free” or “diet” likely contain high-intensity sweeteners, such as sucralose, aspartame, or saccharine. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, “replacing added sugars with high-intensity sweeteners may reduce calorie intake in the short-term…yet questions remain about their effectiveness as a long-term weight management strategypdf iconexternal icon.” Learn more about high-intensity

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Choose Water for Healthy Hydration

All living things need water to survive. Along with milk, plain water is the best drink choice for kids. Why? It’s super healthy with zero calories & no added sugar. It good for the body – keeps joints, bones and teeth healthy, helps the blood circulate, and can help kids maintain a healthy weight into adulthood. Being well hydrated improves mood, memory and attention in children . And it’s economical – tap water is much less expensive than sports drinks, sodas and juice.

Here are some tips on how to help your family choose water.

How much water do children need?

At around 6 months, babies can be introduced to water. They only need about 4-8 ounces per day until they are a year old because the rest of their liquids are coming from breastmilk or formula.

To stay well hydrated, children ages 1-3 years need approximately 4 cups of beverages per day, including water or milk. This increases for older kids to around 5 cups for 4-8 year olds, and 7-8 cups for older children.

It should be noted that these amounts vary by individual and may need to be adjusted depending on levels of activity and environmental conditions like heat and humidity.

How to help your family choose water

Water doesn’t have to be boring! There are plenty of ways to entice everyone in the family to drink healthy and stay hydrated throughout the day. Being a good role model yourself is a great way to help make water part of your children’s routine and gets them in the habit of drinking water before they’re thirsty. Here are a few twists to add some fun:

  • Infuse water with lemons, berries, cucumber or mint for some added flavor. This is an easy way to keep the whole family coming back for refills.
  • Keep fruits and vegetables that are high in water content handy – and there are plenty of them. Some of the best vegetables to choose from are cucumber, zucchini, iceberg lettuce, celery, and tomato. Top fruits include watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries, and grapefruit.
  • Freeze fruit inside ice cubes. It dresses up the drinks at any table, and young children can help fill the trays.
  • Delight kids with special water bottles or cups. Whether it is a personalized sports bottle or a fancy cup with an umbrella or swirly straw, adding a festive touch can go a long way.
  • Make your own popsicles with pureed fruit for an afternoon cool-down. Make it a fun family activity by using small paper cups. Let your kids decorate them before filling or look for popsicle molds in fun shapes and colors.

Drinks to limit

Water and milk are all the drinks kids need. So don’t believe all the hype surrounding many of the other drinks marketed to kids. These usually contain way more sugar than children need in a day and can contribute to poor health. Here’s what to avoid:

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Water use and environmental pressures

Europe’s waters are affected by several pressures, including water pollution, water abstractions, droughts and floods. Major physical modifications to land (e.g.drainage, soil erosion and floodplain changes) and to water bodies (e.g. channelization and barriers) also affect morphology and water flow.

Over the years, the EU has adopted a suite of legislation that aims to protect and manage European waters. This started in 1975 with a directive on surface water quality for drinking water abstraction (75/440/EEC; EEC, 1975) followed by the first Bathing Water Directive, and the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD, 91/271/EEC; EC, 1991a) came into force. The UWWTD, BWD and DWD continued to focus on protecting human health, whereas the NiD targeted agriculture as the source of emissions, to protect aquatic resources.

The quality of drinking water and bathing water, and the effectiveness of waste water treatment across the European Union continues to improve, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA) report published 2016. However, pollution from sources like waste water treatment plants, agricultural runoff and storm water overflows, and emerging risks like micro pollutants from personal care products pose challenges to maintaining clean and healthy water for people’s use.

The Water Framework Directive (WFD, 2000/60/EC; EC, 2000) introduced a more holistic approach to ecosystem-based management in 2000. It focuses on the multiple relationships between the many different causes of pollution and their various impacts on water in a river basin. The WFD aims to ensure that human use of water is compatible with the environment’s own needs. The WFD requires the identification of significant pressures from point sources of pollution, diffuse sources of pollution, modifications of flow regimes through abstractions or regulation and morphological alterations, as well as any other pressures. ‘Significant’ means that the pressure contributes to an impact that may result in failing to meet the requirements of Article 4(1) Environmental Objectives (of not having at least good status). In some cases, the pressure from several drivers, e.g. water abstraction from agriculture and households, may in combination be significant. Further dashboards are available below.

Pressures and impacts dashboard

Pressures and impacts dashboard

Use of freshwater resources

Despite the fact that renewable water is abundant in Europe, signals from long-term climate and hydrological assessments, including on population dynamics, indicate that there was 24 % decrease in renewable water resources per capita across Europe between 1960 and 2010, particularly in southern Europe.

The densely populated river basins in different parts of Europe, which correspond to 11 % of the total area of Europe, continue to be hotspots for water stress conditions, and, in the summer of 2014, there were 86 million inhabitants in these areas.

Around 40 % of the inhabitants in the Mediterranean region lived under water stress conditions in the summer of 2014.

Groundwater resources and rivers continue to be affected by overexploitation in many parts of Europe, especially in the western and eastern European basins.

A positive development is that water abstraction decreased by around 7 % between 2002 and 2014.

Agriculture is still the main …

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HOW DOES WATER AFFECT OUR LIVES? A FRESH LOOK AT H2O

Water makes life possible, but it also has the power to wash away everything you’ve worked for in an instant. Here are 5 ways that water impacts the communities we work with — for good and for bad.

Water is life, as the saying goes. We rely on water for our food, our health, our livelihoods, and for fun and leisure. But water can also take away life. And the absence of water can be even worse. Currently, 700 million people live in water-stressed areas. By 2025, this number is expected to grow 1.8 billion — about 25% of the world population.

As Number 6 on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, “Clean Water and Sanitation For All” is currently struggling. If we want to meet this goal by the deadline of 2030, the UN says we’ll need to double our current rate of progress. Only then can we ensure that there’s universal access to safe and affordable drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene resources, improved water quality, and restored water-related ecosystems. Here are 5 ways that water use affects our lives — and what we’re doing to help make clean water and sanitation for all a reality.

1. WATER PUTS FOOD ON THE TABLE AND MONEY IN THE BANK

According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, roughly 60–80% of severely food-insecure people rely on agriculture for their livelihoods (and their own nutrition). This includes farming of crops and raising livestock, as well as fishing. In Africa, where over half of Concern’s country programs are located, 95% of crops are rain-fed. This means that water shortages have a compound effect: As we’ve seen in areas like Somalia, just one drought can spell disaster for an entire harvest.

kitchen garden in Burundi

Six-year-old David Minani waters the family kitchen garden in Mutembo, Burundi, while his mom, dad, and four brothers watch on. Photo: Chris de Bode/Panos Pictures

Concern has found solutions for many farming communities. In one Ethiopian community, for example, we provided the expertise and money needed to help build a 10-mile system of irrigation channels and reservoirs, bringing water from a nearby river across 200 acres to 140 farming families. That means bigger harvests to keep families fed — and incomes stable.

When lakes and rivers dry up, families are often forced to walk hundreds of miles to find water for their animals to drink. Or, they may lose their (literal) cash cows. A drought in the Turkana region of Kenya, that has now lasted for nearly 4 years, has meant that pastoralists like Ng’ikario Ekiru, a 37-year–old mother of 6, have gone from herds of 100 down to 5 (Ng’ikario, her family, and the flock all rely on the same source of food — a wild fruit that grows in the bush). Concern can’t refill dry rivers, but we can (and do!) truck water to the families and livestock that need it most.

Woman with goat herd outside her home in Turkana, northern Kenya

Ng’ikario Ekiru with the last of her goat herd outside their home in Turkana, northern Kenya. She