Vanderbilt Blood:Water Shortens the Walk

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Thursday was a big night for Blood:Water! We were honored to host Ambassador-at-Large Deborah L. Birx for a reception at our office. Jars of Clay performed at a hugely successful House Concert in Holland, Mich. And, finally, the Vanderbilt chapter of Blood:Water hosted a fundraiser dinner in Alumni Lounge.

Students who gathered dined on Ethiopian cuisine as they listened to Jake Smith describe how Blood:Water works with partners to provide HIV/AIDS care and access to clean water.

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Vanderbilt Professor Moses Ochonu then reinforced the message from Jake. Based on his research of Blood:Water and listening to Jake, Professor Ochonu told students that Blood:Water’s work is the kind that should be supported because it is specific, quantifiable, and creates multiplied economic return. He believes the practical and modest model used by Blood:Water truly empowers Africans in their communities.

Professor Ochonu also related the work to his experience growing up in Nigeria. He is able to intimately understand the need to shorten the walk. For example, he shared that if his mother and aunts had not needed to spend so much time walking to reach clean water, they would have been able to spend more time at home. This would have allowed them to prepare dinner earlier, which would have allowed children, like himself, to go to bed earlier and be more energized to learn in school. It would have also allowed the women to be less exhausted at night and spend more time accomplishing other things.

After urging the students to find ways to get involved with Blood:Water (and get their male peers to join them!), the group was treated to a surprise performance by the Vanderbilt Variations. You can catch them in concert April 7!

If you’re interested in starting a Blood:Water chapter on your campus, email us at grassroots@bloodwater.org. When your school joins together, you can create lasting change in Africa!