How Access to Clean Water Can Empower Women Around the World
"Empowering women is crucial to solving the global water crisis."
Around the globe women are primarily responsible for providing water for their families. Tasked with this critical role, they face an impossible choice; certain death without water or possible death from illness due to dirty water. Women and girls often spend up to 6 hours each day collecting water. This takes time away from school, work and caring for family.
Empowering women is crucial to solving the global water crisis. This is why Water.org empowers women to get safe water and sanitation by helping them access affordable financing. Water.org created WaterCredit to do this. Water.org enables access to small, affordable loans that in turn, enable the poor to install household water connections and toilets in their homes. To date, they have disbursed more than one million loans, and 93% of the borrowers are women.
That’s right — 93% of the borrowers are women. Water.org has found that, if given a choice, women found value in financing a loan in order to get water into their homes immediately. They no longer have to spend hours of their day walking to collect water, and instead, can work and earn income. Swapping what felt like wasted time for productive, income-generating days, women are not only earning the funds needed to repay their loans, but now they contribute to their family’s livelihood and future.
Two strong women, Aisyah and Elma, shared their stories in honor of World Water Day.
Meet Aisyah. Aisyah is a wife, a mother, and a farmer. Most critical to all of her roles is time. Asiyah explained, “Time to work my rice fields means more money I can make for my family; our life is better.”
A typical day for Aisyah included waking before sunrise to collect water. After several hours of collecting enough for her family’s needs, finally a tired and often frustrated Aisyah made her way to the rice field.
It is for people like Aisyah that Water.org created WaterCredit. A smart solution for a smart business woman, Aisyah knew water at home meant more time to produce a larger harvest. With these benefits in view, she confidently approached taking a loan to construct her very own water tap.
Elma is another example of a woman who believed in the benefits of financing her safe water solution. Elma and her husband are poor. Despite their circumstance, Elma did her best to make a home for her family in a dirt-floor hut in rural Philippines. Elma was unsure how they would ever afford water and a toilet for their home, but she knew having a tap and a bathroom would make life better for their children.
Before walking to school, Elma and the kids used to make multiple trips to collect water. This was not the life she wanted for them. “We can only give our children very little, but we wanted to make sure they have water and a toilet.” Thus Elma’s courageous fight to break her family free from the cycle of poverty and their long walks for water began.
Through our work in the Philippines, Water.org had already begun to pave the way to Elma’s victory by making the small, affordable loans possible for families to construct household water connections and toilets. A brave Elma was able to secure the funds to give her family what they needed most.
This World Water Day you can empower women like Aisyah and Elma. Visit WaterDay.org to donate to Water.org and empower more women to change their world.