World Water Day 2010


"More people die from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war. These deaths are an affront to our common humanity, and undermine the efforts of many countries to achieve their development potential." -Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations

March 22 is World Water Day. This year's theme is "Clean Water for a Healthy World."

Reliable, accessible and plentiful sources of water make life possible. Every day in the developed world, this is taken for granted. One expects to turn on taps that release plentiful water, to flush toilets, and to drink clear water, safe from disease and pollutants.

In the countries where The Hunger Project (THP) works, the picture looks very different. There is little access to latrine facilities and safe water supplies. Even when improved sources of water exist, they are often more than 30 minutes away and require women to travel there several times a day.

People suffer from more than just the deprivation of water itself.

They are robbed of the time it takes to collect water, which impacts their ability to go to school, grow crops and earn incomes.

Diseases spread. Across the developing world, diarrhea is a killer. One in five child deaths - 1.5 million per year - is due to diarrhea (UNICEF/WHO 2009). That means that three children die every minute - all due to an affliction many of us take less seriously than the common cold. Every 60 seconds. Start counting.

When access to this most basic human need is obstructed, every aspect of development is sabotaged.

There Is Enormous Potential

Yet, when water flows, the effects ripple outward.

When women and girls have access to a close, safe water supply and the time to be educated and care for their families, futures brighten. Families are healthier, more children go to school, agricultural productivity improves and incomes increase.

And, investing in safe water has high returns: for every US$1 invested, there is a projected US$3-34 gained - with benefits ranging from time savings and productivity gains to budget savings on national healthcare (UN Water 2010).

THP's Role

THP works with communities to develop new water resources, ensure clean water and improved sanitation, and implement water conservation techniques. Actions include:

Developing New Sustainable Water Sources

  • Drilling new wells and boreholes and repairing existing ones
  • Building and repairing water towers
  • Constructing water troughs for livestock

Ensuring the Reliable Supply of Clean Water

  • Providing equipment and training for testing and pumping water
  • Building and repairing latrines in homes, schools and public spaces
  • Lobbying local governments to devote public resources to water infrastructure projects

Implementing Water Conservation Techniques

  • Initiating drip irrigation projects, which minimize the use of water and fertilizer by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants
  • Developing water catchment systems, which collect rainwater from a roof or other surface before it reaches the ground and store it for future use

Empowering Communities

  • Establishing water project boards made up of community leaders who are trained by experts on how to monitor, maintain and repair water systems
  • Training people in the use and repair of water pumps and generators
  • Training a core of local leaders in water safety and purification so they can lead workshops throughout the community and expand grassroots knowledge

Success Stories

You can make a difference in creating more success! Invest in THP's work in ensuring clean water for healthy communities!

Quick Facts

  • 1.1 billion people around the world lack access to clean water supplies (UN Water 2010).
  • 2.6 billion people lack access to improved sanitation (UNICEF/WHO 2008).
  • One in five child deaths - 1.5 million per year - is due to diarrhea due to lack of access to clean water and sanitation (UNICEF/WHO 2009).
  • Diarrhea leads to the deaths of more people than AIDS, malaria or measles combined (UNICEF/WHO 2009).
  • In Benin, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia, about 80 percent of people living in rural areas have no access to latrine facilities (UNICEF/WHO 2008).
  • In six of THP's eight Program Countries in Africa, virtually no one - one percent or less - enjoys water in their homes (UNICEF/WHO 2008).
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