Leaving No One Behind

The theme for World Water Day this year, leaving no one behind, highlights the core belief of the Sustainable Development Goals: as sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit. Since the UN’s first celebration in 1993, the world has been improving the conservation and development of water resources. But after 26 years, there’s still so much to do. 

There are still millions of people without access to safe water, and it impacts us all.

Imagine this: you live in a community where there aren’t any pipelines to safely carry and supply water for your family. There aren’t bathrooms or latrines designated for defecation. Water is scarce and often makes people sick. 

This is a reality for 159 million people around the world, who obtain their water from surface sources, like springs, lakes, or watering holes. Using the same source as animals, leaves them susceptible to disease. And without proper sanitation, fecal matter and other particles find their way into the water supply when it rains.

But once you get sick, where do you go? The healthcare facility in your community uses the same water that you do – that is, if they’re located close enough that they can access it. In low- and middle-income countries, 38% of healthcare facilities do not have an improved water source. Without water, medical staff can’t or don’t understand the importance of cleaning instruments, beds, the facility, or even their hands, which often compounds the burden of disease.  

Women in Uganda pump water

The healthcare facility is not the only one without access to water. One-third of all schools lack access to basic water and sanitation, with one in four primary schools having no drinking water service. And the school your children attend is one of those. 

Some children in the community get by without washing their hands or drinking water throughout the day. However, it’s significantly harder for young girls who are menstruating, as the lack of water often forces them to skip school or risk infection by waiting until the end of the school day to go to the bathroom.  

Your daughter doesn’t go to school, though. Without a pipeline, you’re eleven miles from the nearest source of water. That means that the women and girls in the family have to walk to collect water. Every day, women and girls spend 200 million cumulative hours finding and collecting water. This doesn’t include when the nearest water pump dries up during the dry season and you have to travel even farther.

Women walking with water jugs in Uganda

With all the time and health lost to unsafe or inaccessible water, $260 billion is lost every year. And it’s estimated that universal access to basic water and sanitation could provide an economic increase of $18.5 billion per year. 

Now imagine that the water pump was replaced and dug deep enough to withstand the dry season. Imagine there are distribution tanks that are filled and brought to the schools and healthcare facility. Imagine the water is piped to convenient points throughout the community, significantly reducing collection times. Imagine healthier communities that can be more productive – working harder and smarter. 

This is what we imagine with our WASH Education programs.

By providing education on water, sanitation, and hygiene to schools and healthcare facilities and teaching people the connection between good WASH and good health, we are able to drastically reduce the instance of disease in the community. Not only do we provide education, we partner with local nonprofits, businesses, and people to provide improved access to water and sanitation and ensure communities have everything they need to get and stay well. 

In celebration of World Water Day, you can help ensure vulnerable communities around the world have access to water by donating to our WASH Education programs. And thanks to our partnership with Tupperware, select purchases have provided our programs with drinking items.

Help us reach our Sustainable Development Goal by 2030. Water you waiting for? 

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