Why I Care About Water: BobbiWe asked some Women of Vision to share why they care about water and are advocating for the Water for the World Act. Here, Bobbi Dauderman from WOV Orange County shares her answer.
WOV: How did you become involved with Women of Vision?
I’ve been a partner with Women of Vision for over 20 years. Through these years I had the privilege of visiting World Vision’s work in Kenya, Mexico, Azerbaijan, and as a trip leader to Peru. I chaired our annual event in 2001, represented Shalimar Learning Center (one of our local service projects) on the leadership board, and have led advocacy efforts over the years, attending the two WOV Advocacy Conferences in D.C.
WOV: How did you first become engaged in advocacy?
Having lived in the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Mexico in the late 60’s and 70’s, I met the faces of the very poor and came to understand what poverty can mean. I met people representing organizations, both governmental and non-governmental and the church-related, reaching out to meet the needs of these people. Returning to the U.S., I thought and prayed about how these early experiences could relate to what I do moving forward. In the 80’s, I found my answer searching with the mission committee at my church to find a significant way to address the issue of hunger. We learned about the work Bread for the World was doing, as a Christian-based lobby on hunger and public policy in Washington, D.C. I was hooked and led the way with members of BFW on the West Coast, leading to my election to the board of Bread for the World. This experience brought me to Washington several times a year. I soon learned to be comfortable visiting the offices of our Congressional legislators.
WOV: Why do you view water as a crucial issue today?
During the time I lived in Latin America I became very aware of the importance of access to clean water. For our family, I had to see that we filtered every drop of water that crossed our lips. Poor areas often lacked access to potable water. Here I witnessed children showing the devastating effects of malnutrition and heard stories of mothers coping with children suffering from dehydration from diarrhea, a result of contaminated sources of water.
WOV: When did you hear about the Water for the World Act?
I first heard about the Water for the World Act a year ago when I received a call from Christina Bradic at World Vision asking if I could arrange an in-district visit to our Congressional representative to discuss the importance of this legislation. I had just returned from a trip to Kurdistan, Iraq where I had the opportunity to visit a Syrian Refugee Camp and meet with medical staff. Located in a parched desert, I learned the most needed and precious resource is water. Access to clean water contributes hugely to health and hygiene of these camps. Two of our Women of Vision partners who had just returned from Kenya and visited water projects there joined me. It was a good visit as our representative, Dana Rohrabacher, who sits on the House Foreign Relations Committee which handles this legislation later signed on as a co-sponsor.
WOV: What steps have you made to engage in advocacy for this issue? And what encouragements or discouragements have you faced along the way?
Realizing the influence our neighboring Congressman, Ed Royce, has as the Chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, I volunteered to write an Op-Ed to two of our newspapers about the importance of the Water for the World Act. I used the example of our Women of Vision Walk for Water in early June to make a local connection to this global issue. I have followed up with phone calls to editors, asking for their attention on this issue but so far my effort has not been published.
WOV: What encouragement would you give to women who aren’t sure how to begin advocating?
You may not choose to write an Op-Ed, or be able to visit your Congress person but it only takes a minute to make a timely phone call that can influence policies that redirect millions of dollars and affect millions of lives. The advocacy leadership of World Vision gives us the information and tools we need to speak out for those who do not have a voice. I encourage Women of Vision, realizing that it is God’s grace in Jesus Christ that moves us to help our neighbors, whether they live close by or in foreign lands, to make our voices heard in Congress. We can make a difference!
Women of Vision is joining World Vision in its goal for the Girls Count Act and the Water for the World Act to pass before the end of the 113th Congress on January 3, 2015. Join us on September 9th to add your voice!