For every Swiss person who can easily open the tap at home, there are 257 people in the world who still do not have their right to a clean drinking water guaranteed
On July 28, 2010, the United Nations officially recognised the human right to water and hygiene, underlining how fundamental the right to water is to ensuring full respect for human rights. Governments and international organisations have the responsibility to provide the populations who are the most at risk with the means to access clean and safe water.
More than 10 years have passed, yet today, 2.2 billion people still do not have access to safe drinking water: this is 257 times the population of Switzerland.
Living without clean water
The consequences of the lack of clean water are terrible: it is estimated that every day about 1,000 children die because of infections or diseases related to the lack of clean water. Non-drinkable water is the source of pathogenic bacteria, viruses and parasitic protozoa that, when ingested, cause diseases. It is not easy to imagine how, during the Covid-19 pandemic, people without access to clean water were able to wash their hands, one of the most important practices to fight this terrible virus.
The lives of women and girls can also be deeply affected: around the world, women are responsible to collect water in 80% of homes where it is not readily available. This often means that they have to walk for several kilometres in order to fill a large bucket of water, risking sexual assault and kidnapping on their path. In some cases, women also find themselves without the time to work and become economically independent. Often children have to stay at home, with the older siblings taking care of the younger ones. This forces many children to stop their schooling.
Without clean water, many girls cannot take care of their hygiene during their menstrual cycle. Due to the lack of clean water and safe hygiene services at school, many girls skip several school days every month.
As ActionAid, we are committed to ensuring the right to water in the countries where we work, because we know that it is an important engine for change. Water is not only a primary good, necessary for life and health, but also the means for freedom!
We intervene in different ways. For example, by building a well, creating an efficient water system or working with the local population to make their water sources sustainable. Some of our interventions focus on the practical establishment of water access points, as we have already done in Afghanistan and in villages in Tanzania. We are also committed to raise awareness about preventing infections such as Covid-19, by organizing training on how to wash hands properly and manage water sources so that they do not get contaminated.
But there are still many communities that need safe and manageable access to drinking water. The future of so many women, girls, as well as their communities depends on it: water is freedom!
Support our interventions: we want to bring clean water to all the communities.