The issue explained
The simple act of collecting water has profound health and education implications for children. In terms of health, the water containers are extremely heavy and the walk to the water source is long, often three or four miles. Carrying heavy water cans over such long distances can damage the neck, shoulders and spine. In many countries girls, most younger than ten, are responsible for collecting water and are therefore particularly prone to injury.
The time children, particularly girls, spend collecting water often forces them to miss school. Compounding this problem is the lack of private toilet facilities at school, meaning that girls often drop out completely when they reach puberty.
WaterAid works to ensure that our programs respond to children’s needs. Often new water sources are located in the center of the community to minimize the distance everybody needs to carry water. We check that latrines are designed so they are appropriate for use by children.
Children are quick to learn and often act as ambassadors of good hygiene within their families. We work with schools to run classes, games and clubs that promote hygiene practices such as regular handwashing.
(Meet Sakshi - the diligent, inspiring pupil working within her school and community to promote good hygiene practice! )
When families gain access to a safe water supply, it is easier to grow and cook food so children are given more regular and more varied meals. This, coupled with reduced incidences of diarrheal diseases, helps reduce malnutrition, so children can become healthier.
As children become healthier, their performance and attendance at school improves. It is also easier to recruit good teachers to work in schools with water and sanitation facilities.
Providing children with clean and accessible water and toilet facilities changes their lives.
Want to know more? Download our report about Children and Water