It’s easy to go through the day and take clean water for granted. Whether we’re turning on the faucet for a drink, washing our hands, or flushing the toilet, most of us are afforded the luxury of not having to think about the water we use.
But, according to the United Nations, “water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of the global population and is projected to rise.” UN statistics show a large part of the world that can’t take water access for granted:
- At least 1.8 billion people globally use a source of drinking water that is fecally contaminated
- 2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets or latrines
- Each day, nearly 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation-related diarrhoeal diseases
While these numbers can be disheartening, the situation has improved over the years. The UN reports that “2.6 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water sources since 1990,” but we cannot forget about the 663 million people who are still going without.
This World Water Day, we’re focusing on the many countries that still face a water, sanitation and hygiene crisis and how we can prepare for future water issues. Not only does access to clean water bring better health, it also has positive economic, environmental and social impacts.
Here at PCI, we understand that increasing access to cost-effective and sustainable water and sanitation services is essential to helping families and communities thrive.
Clean water services are vital to any community – for people to drink, as well as to sustain and nourish crops in their gardens, and on their farms. By partnering with local communities, we’re helping to provide access to clean water for drinking, cooking, bathing, washing and irrigation.
Through our USDA-funded Food for Education programs in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Tanzania, we’re helping to promote hygiene and nutrition practices and creating real and lasting behavior change, as well as ensuring access to clean water in participating schools.
We’re also helping communities develop sustainable water systems. This includes digging wells, building latrines, constructing safe water and sewage systems.
Our USAID-funded Njira project in Malawi provides hygiene training with a mother-to-mother health education strategy called the Care Group (CG) methodology. The training covers almost all aspects of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) including water treatment, personal and food hygiene, and environmental sanitation.
Clean water action is crucial when disaster strikes a community. Worsening drought in countries like Ethiopia and Malawi means that vulnerable families are at greater risk of becoming food insecure and more susceptible to dehydration and waterborne disease.
At a critical time when drought is making traditional methods of finding pasture increasingly unreliable, our USAID and Google-funded Satellite Assisted Pastoral Resource Management (SAPARM) project in Ethiopia and Tanzania helps pastoralists find greener pastures to keep their livestock alive.
SAPARM fills a critical information gap by providing real-time information to pastoralists who rely on accurate reports of grazing conditions to successfully raise livestock in support of their families and communities.
Sustainable Development Goal 6, “ensure access to water and sanitation for all”, is something that we build into our programs because it creates a foundation for communities to become healthier and more empowered. If you are interested in getting involved with our efforts to build a brighter, healthier future through water access, consider joining us in our annual Walk for Water.