By Azka Asif, Rotary Programs Staff
Clean water is a basic human right that many are often denied. There are 2.5 billion people in the world that lack access to improved sanitation and 748 million people that don’t have clean drinking water. Nearly 1400 children die each day from diseases caused by lack of sanitation and unsafe water. When people have access to clean water, they live healthier and more productive lives.
In 2015, the United Nations introduced their new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty and promote prosperity while protecting the environment and addressing climate change. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 on water and sanitation encourages us to address universal access to drinking water and sanitation along with improved water management to protect ecosystems and build resiliency. *
Rotary members are committed to reaching the water and sanitation SDG through projects like building wells, installing rainwater harvesting systems, and teaching community members how to maintain new infrastructure.
During March, Rotary Water and Sanitation Month, we’re celebrating our commitment to create healthier communities by supplying clean water and sanitation facilities to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Here are just a few examples of club service projects that are creating a lasting impact:
- The Rotary Club of Bangalore Metro in India installed a water purification plant in the village of Ramanahalli. Due to extensive mining, the ground water in this rural community is completely contaminated with fluorides and other contaminants. The new water purification plant provides reliable access to potable water.
- In the rural community of Bharat Pokhari in Nepal, villagers walk 25 km to fetch buckets of water every day. Oftentimes girls spend two hours a day bringing home water before and after school. In partnership with the Rotary Club of Williamson (USA), the Rotary Club of Pokhara installed a water tank in the village giving more than 500 families access to safe drinking water closer to home.
- The Rotary Club of Suna Migori in Kenya provided a source of clean rainwater to students at four schools and a clinic. At each location, Rotarians provided new latrines and hand washing stations. The project has impacted more than 1500 students and their families, hundreds of patients at the clinic, and increased school attendance especially among girls.
- In rural Ghana, seven million people are at risk from waterborne diseases. Rotarians are working with partners to address community water and sanitation needs. Watch the video below about this project.
Throughout the month of March, encourage fellow Rotary members to check back here for tips, resources, and inspirational success stories to help plan club and district water and sanitation projects. Add your voice to the conversation using the blog’s commenting feature and share how your club supports water and sanitation initiatives on Rotary Showcase.
*[United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda 2015]
- 2016 Presidential Conference on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene to help address WASH concerns
- It’s World Toilet Day!
- Get involved in WASH in Schools