Children collect unsafe water at the swamp, Mugorore village, Juru sector, Rwanda.

Working in 26 countries across Africa, Asia, the Pacific region and Central America, WaterAid enables the world's poorest people to gain access to safe water and sanitation. Together with improved hygiene, these basic human rights underpin health, education and livelihoods, forming the first essential step in overcoming poverty.

By working with local partners, who understand local issues, and providing them with skills and support, WaterAid helps communities set up and manage practical and sustainable projects that meet their real needs. WaterAid also works locally and internationally to change policy and practice and ensure that water, hygiene and sanitation's vital role in reducing poverty is recognised.

Water: Clean water is essential for life, but over 663 million people, roughly one in ten of the world's population does not have access to it. The lack of clean water close to people's homes also affects people's time, livelihoods and quality of life. Without access to safe water for drinking, cooking and cleaning, people are more likely to suffer from water-related diseases. The time and energy required to fetch water, together with the negative health impacts of using dirty water, also has a huge impact on people’s ability to work or get an education.

Sanitation: Sanitation is the safe disposal of human waste, and is vital for health and well being. But 2.4 billion people – one in three of the world's population – do not have access to a decent toilet. Where there is nowhere safe and clean to go to the toilet, people are exposed to disease, lack of privacy and indignity.

Hygiene education: Improving hygiene behaviour is vital if the full benefits of access to water and sanitation are to be realised. Yet diarrhoea is the second biggest killer of children under five years old worldwide. 315,000 children under-five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. That’s almost 900 children a day, or one child every two minutes.

Where poor hygiene is practised, water-related diseases spread fast. Simply by washing hands with soap and water after going to the toilet and before preparing food or eating, people can avoid life threatening water-related diseases. Hand-washing alone could cut the risk of diarrhoea almost in half, saving hundreds of children's lives every day.

Just £15 can enable one person to access a lasting supply of safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation.

You can find out more about WaterAid on their website.


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