Can you imagine not being able to turn on the tap and run yourself a nice hot bath or a glass of cool, fresh water? Access to clean water is something that most of us take for granted but for many people around the world, a lack of access to safe water, sanitation and basic hygiene is an everyday reality. Each year, around 315,000 children under 5 die from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation, which is nearly 900 children per day. With their aim of delivering safe water, sanitation and hygiene to everyone, everywhere by 2030, the charity Water Aid is helping to change lives around the world.
As well as the direct health implications of a lack of access to clean water, there is also a significant social impact, especially for women. In many of the world's poorest countries, women and girls are forced to walk for several hours a day to collect dirty water and without the availability of private toilets, end up dropping out of school. This results in entire communities of women without an education or means of making a living for themselves, and ultimately without any power to change their future.
With hundreds of partners in civil society, governments and the private sector, Water Aid works hard to transform lives by delivering sanitation, water and hygiene to the people who need it most, working in schools and hospitals as well as at the household level. One of their key values is ensuring that services are accessible to even the most marginalised people, for example, that latrines are wheelchair-user friendly and that women and girls are educated about the importance of menstrual hygiene. This focus on good hygiene behaviour is central to Water Aid's strategy, helping to prevent the spread of diseases.
Access to clean water is one of the most basic human rights, so why not make it your New Year's Resolution to see how you can help to make a difference to the lives of some of the world's most vulnerable people?
WaterAid’s Deliver Life winter appeal wants to reach 130,000 mothers and their families around the world with safe water. Every £1 donated by the UK public will be doubled by the UK Government until 10 February 2016. Find out more and how you can get involved at www.wateraid.org/uk.
Photo by WaterAid/Anna Kari