Clean water is at the core of all human life

Around the world today, more than 785 million people live without access to safe drinking water, while at least 2.1 billion still lack access to adequate sanitation facilities. For those deprived of these basic human rights, every drink makes them vulnerable to infectious diseases like cholera, typhoid and dysentery.

In developing communities, collecting water from distant sources is primarily the responsibility of women and girls. For mothers, this means more time away from young children and income-generating activities. For girls, this means missing out on school and future job opportunities.

In times of drought and crop failure, communities without a reliable water source go hungry and it can mean the difference between life and death. These health and financial costs have a ripple effect on a community’s entire economy—making it increasingly difficult for families to break the cycle of poverty.

Fast facts

  • Contaminated water can transmit diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Diarrhoeal diseases cause approximately half a million deaths each year.

  • One study found that reducing the distance to a clean water source by just 15 minutes can increase girls’ school attendance by up to 12%.

  • Around the world, over two billion people do not have access to a basic toilet.

  • Water scarcity affects more than 40% of the global population.

  • More than 80% of wastewater is discharged into rivers or seas without being treated first.

Clean water changes lives

Water is necessary for a host of activities that are seen as the responsibility of women and girls in many regions: food preparation, care of animals, care of the sick, crop irrigation, cleaning, washing and waste disposal. Water is the key element in the hundreds of tasks women and girls do for their families and communities.

By making clean water available in schools, we can help girls attend class rather than spend hours each day carrying heavy buckets from sources that are miles away.

WE Villages supports water projects, like the building of wells and latrines, in communities where water is scarce. As part of our water projects, we also implement educational programmes, such as training farmers to manage their water supply so their crops don’t dry up. Supporting access to clean water is essential to sustainable community development.

Go the distance for clean water by taking part in our WE Walk For Water fundraising initiative.

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