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Water & Sanitation

Why wealthy donor governments must support water and sanitation

Children Washing Hands

Water and sanitation impacts SO many other aspects of extreme poverty. Commonly known as WASH, it is also the most off-track of the Millennium Development Goals. This is why the international community must focus on investing in this area if the world wants to see an end to extreme poverty by 2030.

Some of the stats are pretty shocking. Right now, 32% of the world’s population, or 2.4 billion people, lack adequate sanitation facilities, and 1 billion defecate in the open. What’s more, 90% of childhood deaths from diarrheal disease are in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where access to safe water and sanitation can be limited.

Water and sanitation impact education, health and gender equality. For example, when a girl cannot properly manage her menstruation, she can be forced to miss several days of school per year. When a child gets sick with diarrhea or pneumonia from inadequate handwashing, he or she is also forced to miss school. This impacts the quality of a student’s education, which then impacts job prospects later in life. Ending extreme poverty is not possible if water and sanitation are not first addressed.

The good news is that there are proven solutions to these problems. For example, lifesaving interventions to prevent and treat diarrheal diseases exist, and history has demonstrated that they work. In the last three decades, millions of children’s lives have been saved thanks to access to improved sanitation and simple water treatments.

Wealthy “donor governments” play a super important role in ensuring universal access to water and sanitation. Earlier this year, the Netherlands made an incredible commitment that will impact the lives of millions of people: provide sanitation to 50 million people and drinking water to 30 million by 2030.

The Netherlands has already stepped up as a leader in this fight, but the world needs leadership from other wealthy donor countries as well. It’s not just about financial investments, but also investments in things like behaviour change. To see an end to something like inadequate handwashing and open defecation, world leaders must commit to teaching and promoting hygienic practices. Without behaviour change, no amount of soap or toilets will improve these issues.

To get improved water and sanitation around the world, go to TAKE ACTION NOW and make a phone call to leave a voicemail for world leaders urging them to  increase their financial commitments and to recognize the importance of prioritizing behaviour change in developing countries where access to WASH is limited.

Global Poverty Project will be selecting the most compelling messages to present to leaders from wealthy donor countries at World Water Week in Stockholm from August 23 - 28. The voices of global citizens will be an incredibly powerful call to action for governments to make commitments towards WASH as part of the Global Goals that will guide the next 15 years of international development, delivering a world without extreme poverty by 2030.

NOTE: If you are on your desktop you can find full instructions for this action by clicking here.