For the upcoming celebration of World Water Day, Beyoncé and Gucci are teaming up to provide safe, clean drinking water in Burundi.
Clean Water For Everyone
On Thursday, March 22, the pop singer announced the next step of her BeyGOOD 4 Burundi, a multi-year partnership with UNICEF to help improve sanitation and basic hygiene in the East African nation. This year, Gucci committed $1 million to the initiative which will help build 80 additional wells that will provide clean water to more than 120,000 women, girls, and their families.
"BeyGOOD's mission, with our partners at UNICEF, is to change the lives of those affected by the water shortage. With a water crisis comes problems with health, including acute and chronic malnutrition, and sanitation, all of which lead to a short life expectancy," reads a statement on the 36-year-old superstar's official website. "It also creates an education issue as children living in the affected areas, especially girls, are unable to attend schools that lack clean, safe running water and bathroom facilities. We're ready to shift the narrative."
The initiative has already completed building 35 wells so far this year. BeyGOOD is ready to unleash the second phase of its efforts to alleviate the living conditions in Burundi.
In an interview, Parkwood Entertainment's Director of Philanthropy, Ivy McGregor, said that the next step of their project in the East African nation will be able to service more than half a million women by 2020.
"There are hospitals today in Burundi where women have babies and there's no running water. Let's just pause and think about that for a second. Can you imagine?" McGregor shared to Essence. "So, through this million-dollar commitment that Gucci has made, we will not only be digging more waterholes for the wells, but we will be ensuring that hospitals have water and that schools have water."
She also explained why the BeyGOOD initiative has been focusing largely on women and girls. McGregor stated that the lack of clean water in Burundi or anywhere affect women the most because of their periods. These girls, he revealed, had to take time off from class every month just because they had their period. Aside from the health risks of not having access to a water source, the education of these girls had to suffer for something as basic as their menstrual cycles.
So, in addition to hospitals. BeyGOOD aims to provide clean water in schools in the most critical areas in the country.
The "Hold Up" singer, McGregor, and Parkwood have already visited Burundi a couple of times and have first- hand seen how involved and invested the communities are in building wells. Later this year, McGregor said that they will be heading back to East Africa.
McGregor also talked about why and how the pop singer has been involved in charity work in Burundi. Beyoncé, who has always used her platform to highlight social and political issues, was disheartened to learn that children are dying because they have no clean water.
"[T]hey were dying over something that should be basic. Every single mother is touched by a child in need," he stated. "So, it was simply that and behind that, the immediate feeling that there has to be something that we can do to help with something as basic as water. And that's what moved her to action."
This year, Beyoncé is heading on a North American and European trek with Jay-Z as part of "On The Run II" tour.