World Water Day: March 22
Water. Everyone needs it. Yet, 884 million people around the world do not have adequate access to it. For most of us, water is found by the turning of a faucet. But, in developing countries, women and children walk hours each day to reach a water source that is often contaminated.
Rivers and streams used for bathing, washing clothes and cooking are also home to roaming livestock which contaminate the water. Because of this, nearly 5,000 children a day die from waterborne diseases like diarrhea—the number one killer among children under five years old. What’s more, two and a half billion people around the world lack basic sanitation.
UMCOR is helping vulnerable communities gain better access to clean water sources by locating safe water sources, educating communities and alleviating diseases of poverty caused by poor sanitation.
Locating a new water source in a developing country is just the first step in community access to clean water. The process can take a few short months or years. Once a source is determined, UMCOR distributes household water filtration units and provides training on its proper use and maintenance.
UMCOR also rehabilitates or constructs community wells and appropriate sanitation facilities so communities can begin to live healthier lives. Through UMCOR-supported water and sanitation projects in
UMCOR develops capacity building programs that encourage local ownership through Community Development Committees (CDC) where the ideas, strategies and solutions are created by local residents. The CDCs are empowered to make important decisions like appointing a water council to oversee the finance and operation of the water system. Communities are trained how to use and maintain wells, learning to replace parts as needed for the future. They also learn about basic, yet critical health and hygiene practices.
Alleviate Diseases of Poverty
About 80 percent of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions. In developing countries, diarrhea, a preventable disease, kills 2.2 million people globally each year. UMCOR’s water and sanitation projects are helping to reduce water-related diseases by providing:
- Access to safe drinking water
- Improved sanitation
- Education on personal hygiene
- Health education about how infection spreads
UMCOR collaborates and supports additional water programs administered through its non-governmental organization (UMCOR-NGO) and grantees through UMCOR Health, International Disaster Response, and Hunger and Poverty program units.
Through funding from UMCOR and previously from UNICEF, UMCOR Indonesia’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project provides greater access to improved water and sanitation facilities by improving water supplies, providing hygiene education and training, and capacity building of students and teachers in Banda Aceh, Aceh Besar and Bireuen districts. In addition, waste disposal education and training is provided to hospital staff at the Bireuen District Hospital RSU Dr. Fauziah through the WASH project in partnership with UNICEF.
Providing awareness and education on proper health and hygiene practices is a key component to all of UMCOR’s water and sanitation programs.