22 March, 2015 - World Water Day: Aid cuts threaten clean water for 157,000 girls in one year alone

Plan International Australia Deputy CEO Susanne Legena is available for grabs, interviews, etc. Please call Adam Cathro on 0488 202 945 to arrange.

Hundreds of thousands of girls could lose improved access to vital clean drinking water thanks to Australian aid cuts, says child rights organisation Plan International Australia on World Water Day (March 22).

Analysis by Plan has found that as many as 157,000 girls in the developing world could be left without much needed access to safe and clean drinking water in the next financial year alone if the more than $11 billion in aid cuts announced by the Federal Government are implemented.

“It is difficult to think of anything more fundamental than water. Here in Australia, water is literally on tap, but sadly that’s not true in so many places in the developing world,” says Susanne Legena, Deputy CEO of Plan International Australia.

“With the support of Australian aid, organisations like Plan have been working hard to make safe drinking water available to as many people as we can, and we have made real progress.”

“But the Government’s cuts to aid will make that harder and we risk letting down thousands of people – particularly girls – who want nothing more than clean drinking water for themselves and their families,” Legena says.

“The reason it is particularly important to make sure girls have access to clean water is that girls are the key to development. We know from years of experience and research that it is girls who are the key to ending poverty, but it is impossible for a girl to reach her potential when she doesn’t have access to clean water,” she says.

“In many countries, girls must walk for miles each day to find safe water for themselves and their families. While they are doing that, it’s obviously next to impossible to also complete the quality education they need to escape the cycle of poverty,” Legena says.

“That is why we need to ensure that everyone in the developing world – but particularly girls – enjoy their fundamental right to water, a right the rest of us take completely for granted.”

“All Australians have a role to play here. The public can become a Supporter of Change and help support the rights of girls around the developing world, including the right to water,” Legena adds.

Australians can help ensure girls in the developing world have access to clean and safe drinking water by visiting supporterofchange.com.au or ringing 13 75 26

Editors’ notes:
Plan is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world, founded 75 years ago, working in 51 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas and supported by 21 donor countries. Plan is independent, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations.

Media contact: Adam Cathro, Plan International Australia, Media Relations Manager, 0488 202 945