Nearly 650 million people still don't have access to clean water they need. Many children in developing countries are forced to walk up to an hour each morning to fetch the family's water from local streams, cutting into time they should spend at school. Adding to this, poor hygiene practice, like not washing hands with soap and going to the toilet in the open, can lead to life-threatening illness. But we've developed some smart solutions, and they're working.
Providing toilets doesn't guarantee people will use them. And installing water systems without long-term maintenance solutions isn't sustainable. So we focus on training community leaders, showing people how to build their own toilets, and teach children and their families about good hygiene like handwashing with soap.
The results are in, and a water supply, a toilet, and good hygiene can transform an entire community for good.
"I AM HAPPY BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE TO GO FAR TO COLLECT THE WATER."
She would carry heavy containers on her tiny shoulders and walk across death-defying cliffs and shallow swamps to the nearest river. Sometimes she'd do this walk up to three times a day.
Ludivina now has a new water system in her village. "When I heard that I don't have to collect water, I was so happy!" she says. "Now I have time to play with my friends, go to school and sing!"
Through our Water and Hygiene Project in Timor-Leste, children like Ludivina are:
- participating in student health clubs
- accessing water systems and toilets that are child and disability friendly
- learning about good hygiene like handwashing with soap