“Women spend less time fetching water and have so much more time to work on their land”
-Sixbertha Desdry, Nyakanazi, Tanzania
THE GLOBAL WATER CRISIS IS HERE
Today one in every eight people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water and the impacts of this are truly staggering.
- More than 3.5 million people die each year from water related disease; 84 percent are children. Nearly all deaths, 98 percent, occur in the developing world.
- Lack of sanitation is the world’s biggest cause of infection.
- Millions of women and children spend several hours each day collecting water from distant and often polluted sources like a dirty pond or contaminated river. This is time not spent on income-generating work, caring for families or going to school.
The water crisis also threatens our food security. There are 7 billion people to feed on the planet today and another 2 billion are expected to join by 2050. The lack of water can be a major cause of famine and undernourishment, particularly in areas where people depend on local agriculture for food and income.
HOW CONCERN IS MEETING THE WATER CHALLENGE
Health and Nutrition: Better Access to Clean and Safe Water
Access to safe water is a basic human right. For more than 30 years, Concern has been working to improve access to clean, safe drinking water and sanitation.
Through our water programs we construct household and school latrines, stand pipes, boreholes, rainwater harvesting systems, rainwater cisterns, and rehabilitate and construct ground water wells and other water structures, in addition to protecting natural springs and fountains, and countering the effects of deforestation. Concern’s work also involves the set-up of Well Management Committees comprised of community volunteers who have been trained and equipped to manage and maintain their own local water resources.
Raising awareness of hygiene practices with communities ahead of well construction is a central part of our strategy to reduce disease.
- In Cambodia, Concern recently partnered with WaterSHED-Cambodia to address the lack of rural sanitation in Pursat Province, where sanitation coverage is just 19 percent. In addition to addressing barriers to sanitation services, the joint effort - the first of its kind – combines two approaches that work to change communities’ attitudes and actions around sanitation so that latrines are used more consistently.
- In Haiti, following the devastating 2010 earthquake, Concern provided 75,000 people with access to water and sanitation. Watch this video of Jocelyn and her family, who received water distributions from Concern after being displaced by the earthquake.
Livelihoods: Food Security for the World’s poorest people
Concern's livelihoods programs aim to reduce -- and ultimately eliminate -- absolute poverty. To do this we are working with the world’s poorest people, empowering their efforts to: produce more food; secure access to a reliable food supply; reduce their vulnerability to droughts; and improve their access to water.
The goal of community-based natural resource management is to increase equitable access to and control of natural resources at the community level. Concern implements this through catchment/watershed management to better utilize existing water; community management of inland wetlands to provide people with resources during the driest times of the year; and conflict resolution in the competition over natural resources and land tenure.
- In Zimbabwe, Concern Worldwide is working closely with communities to increase productivity by using conservation farming techniques. This video explains how and why these new techniques work, and how people are benefitting from them. You can view the video here.
Concern's work in the construction of new or rehabilitated water structures significantly improves access to water for people in 15 countries and our initiatives in irrigation and erosion control lead to increased food production for hundreds of thousands of people each year.