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World Water Day: Help children enjoy clean water

World Water Day: Help children enjoy clean water

According to UNICEF and WHO, 663 million people around the world do not have access to clean water, which means about 1 out of every 11 people does not have clean water. In many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, more than a quarter of the population does not have safe and clean drinking water. Ahead of World Water Day on March 22, World Vision Taiwan encouraged the public to learn more about the water crisis and needs around the world and support children whose lives are in danger due to lack of clean water by donating to WASH programs to provide water supply systems and sanitation facilities.

More than 240,000 WASH beneficiaries in 2016

World Vision believes that safe water and a clean environment are the first steps to providing better well-being for children. Children in developing countries often fall ill or die because of dirty water and are deprived of their rights because they need to fetch water for their families. When they have to walk long hours to fetch water, they miss classes, cannot enjoy playing and face the threat of violence and sexual assault on their way to collect water. With all the danger and hard-work they endure, the water they collect is often dirty water that contains bacteria, mud and feces. They have no choice but to drink water that might make them sick or die.

To address the issue, World Vision has strived to implement WASH program where we work. Every year, ahead of World Water Day, World Vision initiates WASH campaigns to urge more people to learn about water issues that children face around the world. In 2016, World Vision Taiwan implemented WASH program in 57 ADPs in 25 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, building and restoring a total of 14,344 WASH facilities (including wells, rainwater harvesting tanks, purifying facilities, water tanks, toilets, hand-washing facilities), with 243,126 beneficiaries.

Ten-year-old Indian girl Rajima lives with her parents and two sisters. She remembers the time she and her sister had serious diarrhea and fever. “We were so sick that we didn’t go to school for three days. At first I thought we had malaria, but later learned that it was because we drank unclean water from the well in the village,” said Rajima.

Rajima lives in Tepari Village, where no clean water is available. Many people in the community suffered from diarrhea because of the dirty water they drank, and children often suffered the most. People in the community did not know the water they used to drink and clean was contaminated. They did not know much about health and sanitation, and would drink the dirty water directly. Without proper roads that linked the village to more populated areas, it was difficult for people in the village to seek timely help. They had to carry the sick on a stretcher and walk for four to five kilometers to hospitals in the nearest city.

After World Vision implemented WASH programs in the village, Rajima and her mother learned to boil water before drinking and came to understand the importance of safe and clean water. Rajima is especially happy to learn that there will be a new water point in the village. “The well was far away. I was often late for school because I had to fetch water in the morning. With the new water point, I can be in school on time and never miss a class to fetch water. I can use the time saved from collecting water to do more things,” said Rajima.

Rajima’s father said the village committee decided that everyone should pay to construct the water filter system and contribute monthly for the maintenance of the water point. “I don’t make a lot of money. But it is worth it if I can let my children enjoy safe and clean drinking water. My children don’t need to sacrifice their education to collect water anymore,” he said.

Clean water for better health and education

The water problems that each continent and country faces are different. World Vision Taiwan’s WASH program focuses on Africa, Latin America and Asia. In Africa, 66% of dry land is arid or semi-arid. Droughts have become more frequent due to escalating climate change, making access to water even more difficult. Currently, Eastern African countries South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia are plagued by severe drought. In Latin America, communities experience uneven distribution of rainfall due to different climates. But with widening gap between rich and poor, precious water resources are controlled by a few, and vulnerable families find it increasingly difficult to afford the water they need. In Bolivia, the government announced its water shortage crisis at the end of last year and the country now enters the fourth month of drought. In Asia, many poor communities do not have access to safe water and people in the communities often lack basic knowledge about sanitation and proper water usage. With more frequent torrential rains and drought, access to clean water has only become more difficult than ever.

World Vision designs tailor-made WASH solutions according to the different needs and local contexts. Our WASH program includes building boreholes and water tanks, constructing toilets and hand-washing facilities, promoting sanitation and health education in schools and communities, and helping communities establish WASH committees to ensure the use of clean water is sustainable.

In 2017, World Vision Taiwan implemented WASH program in 60 ADPs in 26 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We invite you to support our WASH program or child sponsorship, helping children enjoy the clean water they deserve. With your support, vulnerable children will no longer be robbed of their right to play and become educated because of unclean water, and can hope for a better future.

Support WASH program to give children clean water
Sponsor a child in water-stressed countries
Learn more about our WASH program


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