THE WORLD IS THIRSTY FOR CHANGE.
Water is life.
But untreated water can bring death. Water cleanses. But contaminated water can cause disease. Water makes plants grow, and helps children grow strong. But fetching water from miles away is exhausting.
Access to water is a human right, which was recognized by the United Nations in July 2010.
UN member states have set themselves the task of achieving universal access to water and sanitation by 2030.
In March 2023, they will meet at the UN Headquarters in New York to review their progress.
This is an EMERGENCY:
Over two billion children, women and men do not have access to drinking water at home¹.
As a result, people are suffering and dying.
Hidden dangers in each glass of water
2 BILLION PEOPLE
do not have access to safely managed domestic drinking water services.
Many of these people have to collect water from sources that put their health at risk: rivers, stagnant ponds, unprotected communal wells, water points or fountains, etc.
This water is often not safe to drink², since rivers are frequently contaminated by human excreta due to defecation outside. Germs in water contaminated by faecal matter are the greatest risk, as they spread diseases like diarrhea, cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery and polio.
Access to safe drinking water is the best way to prevent such epidemics.
²There may also be other contaminants in the water, such as arsenic, fluoride and nitrate.
Thirst can lead to hunger
1.2 BILLION PEOPLE
were living in agricultural areas where droughts are very frequent.
We generally associate starvation with a lack of food, but it can also be caused by a lack of safe drinking water.
When people fall ill with diarrhea due to contaminated drinking water, they can become malnourished: their bodies can no longer assimilate the nutrients they need to survive. People who are already suffering from malnutrition are even more vulnerable to waterborne diseases like cholera.
In addition, water is used to nourish the crops and animals that feed whole communities, as well as to wash and cook food. But if this water is not treated, it can be a threat to health.
Lack of hygiene breeds disease
3 BILLION PEOPLE
do not have handwashing facilities
with water and soap at home.
With no access to running water, billions of people cannot wash their hands or carry out personal hygiene.
And yet handwashing, bathing regularly and keeping living areas clean is essential, to wash away diseases and stay healthy. For example, cholera is caused by consuming water or food that is infected with the Vibrio Cholerae bacterium. It is known as the ‘dirty hands disease’ as it can be spread through touch.
Improving access to hygiene could save hundreds of thousands of lives every year. It would also meet an essential need: safeguarding people’s dignity.
Time is short for women and girls
6 HOURS PER DAY FETCHING WATER.
Women and girls still bear the heaviest burden of household chores, including fetching water. The time they spend collecting water is time they could devote to their education, a job or other activities.
Fetching water holds girls and women back, increasing inequality between women and men over the short and long term.
CONCRETE SOLUTIONS FOR WATER
When a flood or earthquake strikes, or war breaks out, huge numbers of people are suddenly thrown into a humanitarian crisis.
Millions of people find themselves without water, shelter or other basic facilities. One of their most vital, immediate needs is drinking water.
To assist them, the challenge for aid workers is to collect, transport, distribute, store and treat water.
Providing access to water has been SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’s core focus for over 40 years.
To provide access to drinking water, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL implements three key solutions :
- Increasing the quantity of water available by building suitable infrastructure (boreholes, wells, networks, etc.).
- Improving water quality by installing communal or individual water treatment systems.
- Transporting water to wherever it is needed - from a secure water source to a distribution site - using tankers (lorries, boats).
To provide access to sanitation, the NGO implements appropriate sanitation services :
- Building temporary latrines immediately following a crisis.
- Installing sustainable family latrines in the longer term, to provide robust infrastructure and help populations regain their autonomy.
- Once latrines have been built, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL organizes latrine emptying and treatment of excreta and wastewater.
There are less than 10 years left to achieve universal access to drinking water, even though it is considered a human right by the United Nations since July 2010!