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New York—WaterAid today launched Girl Strong, a powerful campaign that takes aim at how women and girls are disproportionally prevented from leading healthy, educated and fulfilling lives due to the lack of clean water, safe toilets and hygiene. The initiative will incite Americans across the country to take action to break the cycle of poverty and violence that occurs when these basic needs remain unmet.
WaterAid, a leading international nonprofit, launched the campaign to coincide with International Women's Day using a new film that unites viewers in the US around universal experiences of "firsts": a toddler learning to go potty; a girl using a public bathroom by herself for the first time; and a young woman surprised to get her first period.
"Helping her take her first steps towards her dreams is your biggest joy," says the voiceover. "But these firsts would not be possible without access to clean water, safe toilets and basic hygiene. When these things are missing, it's women and girls who suffer the most."
WaterAid hopes the video will inspire people to take action in their communities by contacting their local representatives, raising awareness about the issues and donating to WaterAid's work in support of women and girls globally.
Over the coming months, supporters can expect to see a variety of hard-hitting Girl Strong content that specifically takes aim at open defecation and the related risk of violence, the impact that the lack of clean water and toilets has on girls' school attendance and the consequences of women giving birth in health facilities lacking basic access to clean water, toilets and soap.
"If there's one thing we know, it's that women are strong, determined and conscientious," said WaterAid CEO, Sarina Prabasi. "There is no reason why women and girls should bear a disproportionate brunt of the burden when clean water, toilets and hygiene are not within reach. There's even lesser reason why we can't end the water and sanitation crisis altogether, for everyone, regardless of gender. Girl Strong is a rallying cry for all of us to step up and do our part to break this preventable cycle of poverty, violence and missed opportunities."
The Girl Strong campaign will live at www.wateraidamerica.org/girlstrong, on social media with images that feature the strength and achievements of women and girls, and infographics illustrating why access to water, sanitation and hygiene is essential.