Water is life, a precious gift. It sustains and refreshes, cleanses and protects. It is a human right, recognised by the United Nations. Health and human dignity depend on it. Photo: Richard Hanson/Toilet Twinning.
And yet 1 in 10 people (771 million) still lack basic water services, which means they don’t have access to safe water within a 30-minute walk of home.
2 billion people don’t have access to clean drinking water at home. Photo: Tom Price/Toilet Twinning.
144 million people have no option but to get all their water from unprotected sources such as rivers or lakes. This leaves them at high risk of water-borne diarrhoeal diseases. Every year, 297,000 children under five die due to diarrhoea linked to unsafe water and poor sanitation. Photo: Tom Price/Toilet Twinning.
The overwhelming burden of collecting water falls on women and girls, like Monica in Zambia, who often have to make long treks to find it. This can put them at risk of violence and sexual attack. It is estimated that in total women and girls spend 200 million hours a day collecting water. Photo: Tom Price/Toilet Twinning.
3 billion people did not have basic handwashing facilities with water and soap at home at the start of the pandemic. During the Covid-19 pandemic, our Tap Twinning campaign has helped us improve access to clean water and handwashing facilities worldwide. Initially, this included helping people set up ‘tippy taps’, simple handwashing stations close to their homes. Tap Twinning continues and promoting good hygiene, including handwashing, remains a key part of our water programmes. Photo: Richard Hanson/Toilet Twinning.
Climate change is making water even more scarce. In some areas, water scarcity is fuelling community tensions, even conflict. By working with community leaders and local officials to address local water needs, we are helping to build more stable, inclusive societies. We’re committed to ensuring our water projects include everyone, including those on the margins, the elderly, and those living with disability. Photo: Peter Caton/Tearfund.
The children of Ndago Primary School in Uganda used to have to take turns to miss class to collect water for their classmates – until we ensured they had fresh water and a new tapstand in school.
Half of schools in the least developed countries have no place for children to wash their hands at all. Photo: Ralph Hodgson/Toilet Twinning.
From childhood, Nikuze used to walk 4km to collect water for her family in Kabaya, Democratic Republic of Congo. So when we helped install a pump in her village, it was like a ‘miracle’, she says.
Nikuze and her neighbours also learnt about hygiene and the importance of handwashing, which has proved a vital defence during the Ebola outbreak and the Covid-19 pandemic. We work closely with respected local community and faith leaders to spread public health messages. Photo: Tearfund DRC.
Edna lives in Brazil’s drought-stricken Paraíba state and used to have a 7km trek for water. Our partner drilled a well then worked with the community to lay a 1km pipeline feeding a water tank in Edna’s community.
Our partners work closely with local communities to design and deliver sustainable water systems ‒ from boreholes with solar-powered pumps to community wells like Edna’s.
Photo: Tom Price/ Tearfund.
Ram walks to the community gravity-fed water tank, high above his village in Nepal. He was elected to chair the local water user committee, and to maintain the system.
In all our water programmes, we make sure a village water user committee is in place and trained to ensure the tap is properly maintained. Generally, the community help fund this by paying a small fee for their water use. A professional organisation or government body is usually involved in ensuring the system is maintained. Photo: Tom Price/Tearfund.
We are now starting to fit sensors on handpumps to provide ‘smart data’ that allows remote monitoring of water supplies, especially in hard-to-reach areas. This means that early steps can be taken to repair pumps, or address low water levels, before pumps become unusable. Photo: Charles Macai.
We are passionate about ensuring the poorest and most vulnerable people have access to life-giving water – in World Water Week and every day. You can help us by twinning your tap like Claire.
Twin your tap today