Water AID

Beauty Chiimbwe’s first-born child died when he was just two years old after suffering from diarrhoea caused by dirty water and unsafe toilets. Despite this, Beauty has no choice but to continue giving that same dirty water to her other children, knowing that each sip could take them from her too. “I have no choice but to put my faith in God to protect us,” she says. “What else can I do?” Beauty’s story is not unique. Across the world, 4,000 children die every day from diseases caused by dirty water and inadequate sanitation. International charity WaterAid was established 30 years ago to address this injustice, and now works in 26 countries across the world to improve access to safe water and sanitation for the poorest and most marginalised communities. This year, WaterAid is installing a water point and toilets in Beauty’s town in Kayolo, Zambia, so that her community can live safely without fear of deadly diarrhoeal disease. By working together with local partners, WaterAid provides the skills and support to help communities set up and manage sustainable facilities that meet their individual needs. Access to clean water and sanitation goes beyond saving lives; it also transforms them. A staggering 40 billion hours are spent every year fetching water in containers weighing as much as 20kg – the same as the average airline baggage allowance. This back-breaking and time-consuming task usually falls to women and children, preventing them from going to school or working. Meanwhile, girls are more likely to drop out of schools that lack adequate toilet facilities once they reach adolescence. Water and sanitation therefore underpin education and livelihoods as well as health, forming the first building blocks out of poverty and helping people to live rather than just survive. WaterAid works locally and internationally to change policy so that water, hygiene and sanitation’s vital role in reducing poverty is recognised and even more people can be reached.

There are many different ways to support WaterAid’s life-saving and life-changing work; find out more at www.wateraid.org

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