Water is an essential ingredient for life, and yet 768 million people in the world do not have access to clean, safe water and around 2.5 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation. Clean water is an incredibly important part of relieving poverty: it can help bring opportunity to the most vulnerable people in the world, like women and children. Just a Drop provides clean water and sanitation in ways which involve the local community and have lasting positive effects. It can cost as little as £1 to make this huge difference to someone’s life.
In the first of our blog posts, discover six reasons to support Just a Drop:
1. Water relieves poverty
Did you know that access to clean water and sanitation facilities are the best way to begin lifting people out of poverty? With the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals looming, more and more organisations are arguing that future international development is going to have to prioritise water provision.
UNICEF claims that ‘no single intervention is more likely to reduce global poverty than the provision of safe water.’ It’s also been shown that without adequate water, sanitation and hygiene investments, countries actually grow poorer, losing on average 1.5% GDP a year.
2. Easy access to water helps women
Women are among the groups most negatively affected by lack of access to clean water. Typically, the responsibility for walking miles to gather water falls on women – for example, in rural India fetching water takes up 22% of women’s days. This is time that could be spent earning money from the family, or getting an education, and the long journeys can leave women vulnerable to sexual harassment or assault. Even going to school becomes difficult. For example, almost half of girls who dropped out of school in sub-Saharan Africa did so because of a lack of adequate sanitation facilities.
3. Clean water saves children’s lives
Globally, diarrhoea is the second largest cause of death in under-fives, and 88% of these deaths are caused by poor water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities. Water related diseases kill more children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
Access to clean water and sanitation means that children can survive the most vulnerable years of their life without suffering from stunted growth, which will allow them to grow up into healthy adults.
4. Community participation is key
Just a Drop believes that having locally-owned water and sanitation facilities are key to making a sustainable change. Involving the community in development projects gives them a sense of ownership of their resources and makes sure that the project is relevant to their needs.
To achieve this, Just a Drop works closely with stakeholders, who are often involved in the initial project proposal, as well as the planning process and project construction. For example, at the Utooni Drought Alleviation Project in Kenya, four local self-help groups were integral to the planning process, using community meetings to identify community needs, project plans, and beneficiaries, and were also involved in project design and construction.
5. The projects have long-term benefits
Just a Drop is committed to projects which have long-term sustainability. To do this, community groups are formed and trained to carry out routine maintenance on the project as well as raise awareness of proper hygienic practice after the Just a Drop team has left. This stops the projects from falling into disrepair.
Communities and specialists involved are expected to annually update Just a Drop on how the project is working, and to show what benefits have been achieved. For example, in Namakonkome Parish in Uganda, the local communities not only contributed labour, food and storage space for construction materials, but also elected water use committees and community monitoring teams to maintain the project.
6. It only takes £1
Just £1 can provide a child with clean, safe water for 10 years; £10 can provide for a child for their entire life; £24 can give a family a lasting source of clean, safe water.
Regular donations are one of the most helpful ways to support Just a Drop: it allows us to plan ahead so we can reach even more people in need. If you would like to help Just a Drop continue our vital, life-saving work, please click here.
Written by: Margaret Welsh. August 2013