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The Impact of Safe Water For Children

public health-WHO-hygeine
public health-WHO-hygeine
Photos Courtesy of Lifewater International

Lifewater International aims to bring awareness to a growing public health crisis that affects many worldwide: lack of safe water.

Dave LeVan

CEO, Lifewater International

The worldwide lack of access to safe water has been deemed a crisis by the World Health Organization(WHO). According to the WHO, 1 in 3 people globally lack access to safe water.

A related problem further besets struggling families: lack of knowledge about sanitation and access to hygienic bathrooms. The WHO found that over half of the world’s population does not have access to safe sanitation services like bathrooms and handwashing facilities.

Who is affected

The impact of these issues is born in great measure by the world’s children. Every two minutes, a child dies from water-borne disease, and diarrhea is the second leading cause of death for children under five.

This health crisis profoundly affects children’s education. In Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Cambodia, families in Lifewater International’s programs report that the top two reasons children miss school are because they are gathering water for their family while class is in session, or they are home sick with a waterborne disease.

Because of these challenges many drop out of school early, and girls face extra hurdles at school. Without safe, private bathroom facilities, young women are forced to stay home while menstruating.

This amounts to weeks of school lost every year and a high likelihood of not finishing high school. These issues of access are devastating if left unaddressed, but they also have simple, community-based solutions that change lives in lasting ways.

What can be done

Providing safe water access and WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) training to a community equips families with knowledge about life-changing household hygiene. With healthy habits like regular handwashing, cleaning and drying dishes, and establishing a separate bathroom, disease rates plummet.

Everyone deserves access to safe water and knowledge about how to keep themselves healthy. At Lifewater, this is our mission.

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