It’s encouraging to see an informative article about women and clean water – especially with reference to the developing world – by the President of EurEau, the umbrella organisation of Europe’s drinking water and water service operators.
Women and water. What is the connection? Yes, we all need water to survive, but the link between women and water goes deeper than hydration and crop irrigation. – Bruno Tisserand, President of EurEau.
2.1 billion people, or 30% of the world’s population, still do not have access to safe drinking water and 60% do not have safe sanitation. These statistics provide the backdrop of a deeper link between women and clean water:
- Access to safe water, adequate sanitation and improved hygiene practices help prevent disease. Diarrhea diseases alone account for 3.6% of the global burden of disease and cause 1.5 million deaths each year (WHO, 2012). An estimated 58% of this burden, or 842,000 deaths per year, is attributable to the poor quality of water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WHO, 2014).
- Lack of access to sanitation affects women more than men. Women are usually responsible for collecting enough water for a family’s daily cooking and hygiene needs. Even with improved access, women still have to travel to collect water for the home.
- Women are more exposed to microorganisms as they are usually responsible for assisting children, the elderly and the sick. Good basic hygiene – and therefore access to clean water – is vital to ensuring that carers remain healthy.
- Ensuring universal access to sanitation in households, healthcare facilities and schools is essential in reducing disease, improving nutritional outcomes, enhancing safety, well-being and educational prospects, especially for women and girls (WHO).
- Women’s education impacts the demographic of the family, which is especially important in developing worlds. The larger the family, the more likely it is that that the family will fall into the poverty trap. If the family cannot afford to send their children to school and get an education, those children in turn end up having larger families and the cycle continues.
- If women spend more time in school, they are more likely to climb out of this trap. Each year of secondary education allows a woman to boost her income by 25 percent. Higher income and fewer children give women in developing countries more opportunity.
The writer concludes that women in developing nations can positively alter their lives and the lives of their families and their compatriots through education.
In this regard the Hippo Water Roller is clearly a game-changer, as it not only improves access to clean water but also gives women more time and energy for education and economic activities.