World Mission – ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them’ (Mark 10:14)

Doug Nichols Doug Nichols and his wife Margaret have served in missions for nearly 47 years of which 20 years were in the Philippines. They presently reside in Issaquah, Washington, where Doug serves as Global M
01 October, 2010 7 min read

Doug Nichols, founder and director emeritus of compassionate ministry Action International Ministries (ACTION), recently wrote:

Today is my 68th birthday. What better way to celebrate than to send out a special plea for the gospel and compassionate care to be brought to the needy children of the world.

There are some 160 million street children throughout the world, including 1.5 million children on the streets in the Philippines, up to 40 million in Latin America, and 18 million in India alone.

There are also an estimated 145 million orphans in the world, 13 million of them AIDS orphans in Africa. Below are 47 statistics compiled by Kim Craig, from Causelife: water equals life, authored by Vernon Brewer and Noel Brewer Yeatts (June 2010).

1. Six thousand children died today from water-related illnesses – Child survival fact sheet: Water and sanitation (New York, NY: United Nations Children’s Fund),

2. Over one billion people in the world have no access to improved water sources – David Redhouse, ‘No water, no school’, Oasis, Spring/Summer 2004 (London: WaterAid, 2004), 7,

3. Of the 121 million children worldwide not receiving any education, the majority are girls – ‘To jump start development’, State of the world’s children (New York, NY: UNICEF, 2004), 1,

4. Over 2 million unsafe drinking water deaths occur in the world each year, and the majority are children – The facts about the global drinking water crisis (Redwood City, CA: Blue Planet Run Foundation, 2004),

5. [Almost four miles] is the average distance women in Africa and Asia must walk every day to get water – WASH facts and figures (Kampala, Uganda: WATSAN Resource Centre),

6. During the rainy season, people in some areas of Africa can receive up to 100 infectious mosquito bites per month – Health and hygiene considerations (New York, NY: Flip Flop Foundation, April 2009),

7. In some areas of Uganda, 90 per cent of all water samples taken contained E. Coli – Jenna Klink, E. Coli contaminated drinking water in rural Uganda: using results to make an impact, MINDS@UW (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, 2007),

8. It is estimated that ’86 per cent of all urban wastewater in Latin America – is discharged untreated into rivers, lakes, and oceans’ – ‘The environment: where’s the risk, and where are children safe?’ (ScienceDaily, 28 June 2004),

9. Unclean water, together with the poor sanitation it creates, is the number one killer in the entire world – Jessica Berman, ‘WHO: Waterborne disease is world’s leading killer’ (Washington, DC: Voice of America, 17 March 2005),

10. Combine war, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and even traffic accidents – dirty water still kills more people – ‘Take action: protect our right to water. If you don’t speak out, our access to clean, safe affordable water is at risk’ (Washington, DC: Food & Water Watch), =26890

11. A single drop of water can contain over 1 billion bacterial organisms – ‘Bacteria’ (Science clarified, 2008),

12. Each year there are more than 4 billion cases of diarrhoea, which causes 2.2 million deaths – Child survival fact sheet: Water and sanitation, United Nations Children’s Fund.

13. Five thousand children will die today from diarrhoea – Andrea Gerlin, ‘A simple solution’, Time online magazine (New York, NY: Time Inc., 8 October 2006),,9171,1543876,00.html

14. Forty-one per cent of the world’s population lives in areas where malaria is transmitted – Malaria facts (Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007),

15. Of this percentage [41 per cent of the world’s population] 1.3 million die of malaria and 90 per cent of them are young children – Water, sanitation and hygiene links to health (Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 2004),

16. An unbelievable 500 million people are at risk from this disease [trachoma] that leads to blindness – ‘Water and diseases’ (Water missions international, 2006),

17. And 128 million children are affected [by trachoma] – ‘Blinding disease’ (Sheffield, UK: World mapper, 2006),

18. In Uganda, close to 40 per cent of all children are affected by trachoma – ‘Blinding disease’ (Sheffield, UK: World mapper, 2006),

19. According to the World Health Organization, there are as many as 21 million cases and 600,000 deaths from typhoid fever annually – ‘Background paper on vaccination against typhoid fever using new-generation vaccines’ (Typhoid immunization working group, November 2007),

20. In some countries, 90 per cent of typhoid cases are children ages 5-19 – Initiative for vaccine research: typhoid fever (Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization),

21. It is estimated that 120,000 people die each year from cholera. In addition, 3-5 million new cases of cholera are reported worldwide annually – Initiative for vaccine research: cholera (Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization),

22. ‘About 29,000 children under the age of 5 – twenty-one each minute – die every day, mainly from preventable causes’, reports UNICEF. ‘An Ethiopian child is 30 times more likely to die by his or her fifth birthday than a child in Western Europe – Malnutrition and the lack of safe water and sanitation contribute to half of all these children’s deaths’, from Goal: reduce child mortality (New York, NY: United Nations Children’s Fund),

23. Worldwide, one out of every two children lives in the most desperate poverty conditions – Dr Wess Stafford,Too small to ignore: why children are the next big thing (Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Press, 2005), 175.

24. The 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty are not just poor – ‘New data show 1.4 billion live on less than US $1.25 a day, but progress against poverty remains strong’ (Washington, DC: The world bank, 26 August 2008),,contentMDK:21881954~pagePK:64257043~piPK:437376~theSitePK:4607,00.html

25. The staggering reality is that more than 1 billion of the world’s children – 56 per cent – are living in poverty or severe deprivation! A stunning 37 per cent of the world’s children, more than 674 million, live in absolute poverty – Luis Bush, ‘Raising up a new generation from the 4/14 window to transform the world’ (Flushing, NY: Transform world new generation, 2009), 17.

26. Over one-third of children have to live in dwellings with more than five people per room – Luis Bush, ‘Raising up a new generation from the 4/14 window to transform the world’ (Flushing, NY: Transform world new generation, 2009), 17.

27. 134 million children have no access to any school whatsoever – Luis Bush, ‘Raising up a new generation from the 4/14 window to transform the world’ (Flushing, NY: Transform world new generation, 2009), 17.

28. Over half a billion children have no toilet facilities whatsoever – Luis Bush, ‘Raising up a new generation from the 4/14 window to transform the world’ (Flushing, NY: Transform world new generation, 2009), 17.

29. Almost half a billion children lack access to published information of any kind – Luis Bush, ‘Raising up a new generation from the 4/14 window to transform the world’ (Flushing, NY: Transform world new generation, 2009), 17.

30. Throughout the Bible, over 3,000 verses have been found that reference the idea of the poor and alleviating poverty – John Edwards, ‘The America we believe in’ (Washington, DC: Institute for America’s future, 31 January 2006),

31. It is estimated that nearly 5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is lost in African countries due to the sickness and disease caused by unclean water – Kevin Watkins, ‘Clean water is a right but it also needs to have a price’, International Herald Tribune (New York, NY: The New York Times Company, 10 November 2006),,199,en.html

32. In Guatemala, 44 per cent of children suffer from chronic malnutrition. But it is the lack of clean water that is the main factor for this high number – World bank policy research working paper, 2967, 1.

33. Every year 860,000 child deaths from malnutrition could be prevented by providing clean water – How does safe water impact global health? (Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 25 June 2008),

34. Along with waterborne diseases, there is also a chemical threat. Developing countries use powerful pesticides heavily. Ninety-nine per cent of all pesticide deaths in the world occur in these countries, although they account for only 25 per cent of the total consumption – Sustainable development and healthy environments (Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 24 September 2004),

35. The 17 per cent of land that is irrigated in the world is producing 40 per cent of the global food supply – ‘The salt of the earth: hazardous for food production’ (Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, June 2002),

36. Through irrigation in Africa, the net income per family increases anywhere from $150 to $1,000 – ‘Poverty Reduction and Irrigated Agriculture,’ International programme for technology and research in irrigation and drainage, Issues Paper No.1 (Rome, Italy: Natural resources management and environment department, January 1999), 9,

37. ‘Nearly 2 billion people – a third of the world’s population – derive at least some of their livelihood from farm animals, and nearly one person in eight depends almost entirely on livestock – livestock provide 20-60 per cent of household income’. For these people, livestock are the single most important investment they have – ‘Accumulating assets through animal agriculture’ (Nairobi, Kenya: International livestock research institute),

38. Over 840 million people worldwide suffer from malnutrition. 799 million of those live in developing countries and 153 million are young children – Facts about hunger (Atlanta, GA: CARE USA),

39. Around the world, 376 million children must walk more than 15 minutes to access water – ‘Trick or treat for UNICEF tonight, and help a deprived child’, UN News Centre (New York, NY: UN News service, 31 October 2006),

40. Studies show that in sub-Saharan Africa and many other areas around the world, women and young girls must walk an average of four miles every day just to provide water for their families – WASH facts and figures (Kampala, Uganda: WATSAN Resource Centre),

41. Each year in Africa, 40 billion working hours are spent just on fetching water – ‘What we do: clean water projects’ (Santa Rosa, CA: Children’s hunger relief fund, 2009),

42. Globally, children lose 443 million school days each year because of waterborne illnesses – ‘What we do: statistics’ (London, UK: WaterAid),

43. And every year, 400 million children become infected with worms, which severely limits their learning potential – ‘What we do: Water, sanitation and hygiene’ (New York, NY: United Nations Children’s Fund, 22 May 2009),

44. In Malawi, strategic clean water improvements have raised school enrolment for girls to 94 per cent – ‘Progress report: water and sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa’ (Washington, DC: ONE), <SPAN style=”FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma

Doug Nichols and his wife Margaret have served in missions for nearly 47 years of which 20 years were in the Philippines. They presently reside in Issaquah, Washington, where Doug serves as Global M
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