The entertainer Beyoncé has teamed up with UNICEF through her BeyGOOD philanthropic arm to launch a multi-year partnership to provide safe water to the most vulnerable children in Burundi.
The partnership, BEYGOOD4BURUNDI, will support programmes to improve water, sanitation and basic hygiene practices in the hardest-to-reach areas of the landlocked East African nation.
The water crisis in Burundi is a crisis for children. When children have to rely on unsafe water, they become weak, malnourished and susceptible to water-borne diseases, which are among the leading causes of death in children under five. The lack of water also forces children to miss out on school to walk for miles in search of wells. The burden of fetching water falls disproportionately on girls, who risk attacks along their journeys.
“Access to water is a fundamental right. When you give children clean and safe water, you don’t just give them life, you give them health, an education, and a brighter future. I am committed to helping drive lasting solutions to the water crisis in Burundi,” said Beyoncé.
“Addressing the global water crisis is one of the defining challenges of our time, and the children of Burundi are among the most vulnerable,” said Caryl M. Stern, president and CEO of UNICEF USA. “This unique partnership combines UNICEF’s decades of expertise in providing clean water to children in Burundi and around the world with the power and influence of the entertainment world to bring about social change. We are grateful to Beyoncé and BeyGOOD for joining forces with UNICEF, to highlight this critical issue to new audiences.”
“BEYGOOD4BURUNDI is a continuation of the work that Beyoncé, her family and Parkwood Entertainment are doing to address water crises around the world, including right here in the state of Louisiana and in Michigan,” said Ivy McGregor, director of philanthropy and corporate relations at Parkwood Entertainment, who traveled to Burundi earlier this year. “In Burundi I saw myself, my sisters and my mother in the strength of the women and young sisters travelling miles to carry water for their families.”
The first phase of the partnership includes the construction of new wells equipped with hand pumps, hygiene education and the improvement of water and sanitation facilities in schools in four priority regions, including Bukemba and Giharo in Rutana Province and Kinyinya and Nyabitsinda in Ruyigui Province. In these rural communities, children are chronically malnourished and more than 65 per cent of the population use unsafe water sources. Children and families have to walk long distances to water collection points, and even then the water access rate is extremely low.