WASH: Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
Access to WASH has a significant role in development
In the dreary and wet days of March and April, we often wish that the water would go away... But what if water wasn't collecting at our doorstep, but in a well three miles away?
March 8 is International Women's Day, and March 22 is the World Day for Water. This month, we will take a look at the importance of having access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities (WASH).
WASH around the world:
- Lack of safe water and sanitation is the world’s single largest cause of illness. UNICEF
- By providing access to clean water and sanitation, the number of girls who are absent from school can decrease by up to 37%. CARE Action Network
- On average, women and girls in developing countries walk 6 kilometers a day - nearly 4 miles- carrying over 5 gallons of water. UNICEF
The Importance of Clean Water
Water is essential for life
The health and well-being of all people relies on a clean, safe source of drinking water. However, four of every ten people in the world do not have access to even a simple pit latrine; and nearly two in ten have no source of safe drinking water*. Every year millions of people, most of them children, die from diseases associated with an inadequate water supply, poor sanitation, and a lack of hygiene services. Water scarcity, poor water quality, and inadequate sanitation negatively impact food security, education, health, and opportunities for families throughout the world. *According to Water for Life.
Clean Water Affects Girls
Access to water and sanitation plays a major role in a girl's ability to get an education. In many families, girls must walk to the well and bring back heavy buckets of water for cleaning, cooking, washing, and bathing. She may have to walk several miles to access clean water, forcing her to miss out on going to school.
Hygiene and Sanitation
Of the estimated one billion people worldwide, one sixth is affected by one or more parasites.
Without access to proper sanitation facilities, personal hygiene is difficult to maintain. According to the World Health Organization, parasitic diseases are most prevalent in areas with poor sanitation, housing, and a poor supply of water.
Bacteria from trash and waste from humans and animals cannot be seen with the naked eye. It's easy to encounter contaminated water without knowing it through bathing, washing, and drinking.
Some common sources of water that are unsafe are unprotected springs and surface water (including rivers, ponds, or streams), which can carry contaminants and human waste from one location to another. For people near the end of a river’s flow, contaminants are usually most prevalent because waste accumulates and carries downstream.
- Host a Walk for Wells. The Walk for Wells is walk-a-thon that you can host at your school or community center to raise awareness and fund raise for clean water. Schools across the country will walk- just like the millions of girls all over the world- and help build bore holes for schools and communities in Niger. Check back soon for a complete website with all you'll need to host a Walk for Wells at your school. If you're feeling motivated, you can host a Walk for Wells on or around World Water Day (March 22)- or plan for a Walk for Wells in the spring time. If you participate in a Walk for Wells, you have the chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to West Africa to visit a bore hole yourself!
- Don't waste what you've been given. If you were to carry the amount of water you used in a day, could you do it? Avoid purchasing bottled water, and instead drink filtered water from the tap. Check for leaky faucets in your home and school to save gallons a day!
- Get Active. Donate your birthday to a cause like Plan's IMAGINE Project, or hold a film screening at your school of a movie like "Water Voices." Raise awareness of how important clean water is for a healthy life by bringing up the subject in your health, social studies, or current events classes.
This Month's Most Popular...
Facebook Message: Don't just show love to your Valentine - buy fair trade and ensure that cocoa producers feel the love, too! Check out the YUGA toolkit on child exploitation or Global Exchange for ideas, tips, and where to buy fair trade chocolate. February 14 at 1:46pm
Tweet: Video: UNGEI event highlights importance of technology in girls’ education (via UNGEI) http://tumblr.com/xoa1lywj0h February 25 at 3:40pm
Blog Entry: Plan Youth Visit the United Nations A delegation of twelve girls from across the world came together with Plan to speak at the United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women! Check out the blog that the girls updated throughout their week in NYC. http://www.planyouth.tumblr.com/ February 27
World Water Day: March 22
YUGA Leadership Camp July 17-23, 2011 Click here for more info!
Cranston East High School Skypes with Haiti On March 1, the Cranston High School East YUGA Chapter had a Skype call with youth in Haiti. Check our blog for a full story about their conversation! If you're interested in being highlighted in a School Spotlight, send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pick of the Month
Books to Read: A Long Walk to Water By Linda Sue Park
Films to Watch:
- Water Voices - features seven compelling stories about people who found local solutions to the worsening water crisis in Asia and the Pacific.
- GOOD: Drinking Water - this YouTube video gives a artful explanation of why clean water and sanitation is vital to a community.
April - Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability: April 22 is Earth Day, and YUGA wants to bring attention to this incredibly important issue! Not only are we impacting the environment of today, but our decisions are changing the earth tomorrow. Learn how you can stay green and encourage others to, too!