Since 2014, supporters like you have worked with us to provide access to safe water for people in Zimbabwe and Vanuatu. ‘Safe Water’ is more than just clean water to drink – and the whole picture is even bigger than just water tanks and boreholes.
Safe Water September has always been about more than drinking water. Our partners work with communities to address many issues that come with a lack of clean water. This includes improving the quality of water. It also includes making it safe to access and collect, and managing water well to benefit the whole community. We’ve seen a school reopen, small businesses start and, of course, people’s health improved. Clean drinking water has always been a crucial part of our partners’ work, but there’s so much more that ‘Safe Water’ can achieve.
The even bigger picture of Safe Water includes hygiene and sanitation. This means good hygiene resources and education, like proper handwashing. It also means access to proper sanitation facilities, which helps keep water from being contaminated. Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene go hand in hand.
This “bigger picture” is referred to as WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene). And it’s so important to people’s wellbeing, that it’s one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. (https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal6)
Safe Water September has always supported WASH projects. Our local partners have been working to bring effective water solutions to communities in need. Thanks to your support, Safe Water September has grown, and so has our capacity to support more projects that focus on the Hygiene and Sanitation aspects of WASH.
There is a great need for effective hygiene and sanitation. Many people around the world have no choice but to go to the toilet in the open — this is known as ‘open defecation’. This puts them at great risk that could otherwise be prevented.
For example, open defecation leads to exposed waste and it often occurs alongside a lack of proper handwashing. This increases the risk of bacterial and surface contamination. This can be very dangerous, especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Waste from open defecation can also end up in rivers and catchments. This often contaminates the supply of drinking water. Drinking contaminated water leads to diseases like diarrhoea and cholera. These preventable illnesses can be fatal to people who already lack medical care. Children are especially at risk. Open defecation has been linked to increases in malnutrition and stunted growth.
Women and girls are also placed at risk of gender-based violence. The lack of enclosed space and privacy increases vulnerability. They may face violent attacks and sexual assault.
These are critical issues. That's why Safe Water September is now contributing to WASH projects that focus on these needs. We are now partnering in Bangladesh, to help give people in need improved sanitation, good hygiene and, of course, access to water. We’ll be sharing more information about this project very soon on the Safe Water September blog and in next month’s In Partnership.
Safe Water makes a critical difference to people’s lives. Every person deserves to have safe drinking water. Every person deserves proper hygiene education. And every person deserves safe, clean sanitation facilities. Safe Water September aims to turn that ideal into reality.
Drink Water. Give Water. It’s that simple! You can take part in the Safe Water September challenge! For every $25 raised, one person gains access to safe water in Bangladesh, Vanuatu or Zimbabwe.
To find out more and sign-up for Safe Water September, visit our website at www.safewaterseptember.org.au. Whether you take the challenge, supply your church with resources, or donate to those taking part — you’ll make a real difference to people without safe water.