This past June, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation released its 2015 update on the state of water and sanitation in the world.
There was a lot of good news: since 1990, 2.6 billion people have gained access to improved sources of drinking water, and 2.1 billion people have gained access to sanitation.
However, the report also revealed that there is still a lot of work to be done. Despite progress, there are still some staggering statistics. Here are just a few:
- Over 600 million people—about 10 percent of the world’s population— lack access to clean water.
But these global figures mask wide regional disparities:
- In Sub-Saharan Africa, 48 percent lack access to clean water.
- In Southern Asia, 37 percent.
- And in Oceania, 69 percent.
- One in every three people worldwide (2,400,000,000 people!) does not have access to a toilet.
- 946 million people practice open defecation (because they have no access to sanitation). That’s MORE people than the entire population of North and South America combined.
- Women and girls carry much of the burden of deficient sanitation facilities—affecting health and hygiene, safety, education, dignity, livelihoods, and quality of life.
So, what is Plan doing?
- In 2014, Plan helped communities to build or reconstruct 4,112 water points.
- Also this past year, as a result of Plan’s work, 800,000 households—approximately 4.8 million people—gained access to sanitation.
- In 2014, Plan trained 289,437 professional and volunteer health workers and management staff, benefiting 33,579 communities.
- Plan has placed particular emphasis on empowering girls through its Because I am a Girl campaign.
- Plan is working with University of North Carolina’s Water Institute to innovate and experiment with new ways of achieving open defecation free environments.