WHY CLEAN, SAFE WATER ?

When people have immediate access to clean, safe water every day, it’s easy to take its criticality for granted. While access to water is crucial to human survival, its importance goes far beyond quenching thirst — it is a human right that contributes directly to the health, dignity, and prosperity of people around the world.

Globally, 785 million people still lack even a basic drinking-water service reachable within 30 minutes.  Moreover, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with human waste,  and 3.4 million people — mostly children — die annually from waterborne diseases.

The situation is especially dire in Rwanda.

  • Only 57% of the population have access to safe drinking water reachable within 30 minutes of their home.

  • Only 64% of the population have access to basic sanitation services, including having household toilets that keep human waste out of contact with people.

  • Just 5% of households have a place for family members to wash their hands with soap.

  • Over 1,000 children under 5 die each year from diarrhea caused by dirty water and poor toilets.

  • Children are often absent from school because they are collecting water for their families or recovering from a waterborne disease. 

  • Adolescent girls remain home from school during menstrual cycles due to lack of safe water to help keep them clean.

NEU Global’s clean water initiatives aim to reverse these statistics in Rwanda, including the Kansoro and Gahondo villages, which were transformed when NEU Global provided water. Wide reaching benefits include: 

  • Safety: When girls travel alone to collect water, they are at risk of getting raped or sexually assaulted. The introduction of an improved water source closer to a girl’s home eliminates this danger and makes collecting water a safe task within the community.

  • Saved time: Children can reroute the hours that they would have spent collecting water from distant water sources to educational, social, and cultural activities, including attending school, doing homework, and spending time with friends and family.

  • Disease control: Clean water is safe water. When communities have access to improved water sources, they no longer have to resort to drinking contaminated water that could cause cholera, dysentery, diarrhea, and other waterborne diseases.

  • Hygiene: Access to clean water fosters healthier hygienic behaviors.

  • Economic stimulus: Water access in a community often compels people from neighboring areas to move to locations with safe water. Economy begins to flourish as more homes are built, and businesses grow in order to accommodate an increasing population.

To read more details about the positive impact NEU Global’s projects have had in Rwanda’s Kansoro and Gahondo communities, please visit the NEU Global Accomplishments section. 

Sources:

World Health Organization  https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/drinking-water

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) 

Water Aid