The World’s Best News – 2,000,000,000 more people have sanitation and clean water!
In the second of this “Good News” series, we look at the issue of water and sanitation. While the world is justifiably concerned about HIV/AIDS and malaria, the biggest killer in the Developing World (of millions each year, particularly children) is simply – dirty water. Children die needlessly from conditions that range from cholera to simple gastro-enteritis, all spread by dirty water, poor sanitation, and ignorance about hygiene.
Basic infrastructure has always been a priority funding focus for ElectricAid – with a huge emphasis on water, sanitation, and hygiene education. In 2013, for example, we funded 20 water and sanitation projects with €173,000, almost all in sub-Saharan Africa. This compares with the €112,000 raised for Syria & the Philippines, and again indicates that we are still mainly in the Development, rather than Disaster, business. WATSAN, as it is known in Development jargon, is a priority for both large and small funders. For example, Irish Aid’s programme in Zambia (paid for by your taxes) delivered clean water access for 400,000 people in 2012.
Globally, the emphasis on clean water is working. The 2000 Millennium Development Goal targeted a 50% reduction in those without clean water and sanitation. This was achieved in 2012, 3 years ahead of schedule. Since 1990, 2 billion more people have proper sanitation and clean water – this is real, tangible progress that saves lives by the hundreds of thousands. Accessible water also allows more productive use of time by families – for work, for education. Progress is made on many fronts.
Again, we are not saying that all is rosy in the garden. The proportion of the population served by clean water is only 60% in sub-Saharan Africa – and much lower for any form of proper sanitation. At least 10% of all ill-health is associated with these deficits. Children continue to die preventable needless deaths. The provision of clean water and latrines is not rocket science, and we can and will make more progress, with your sustained generosity.