About the Situation
By the Numbers
748 million people worldwide do not have access to improved source of drinking water
2.5 billion people worldwide do not have basic sanitation facilities
Every 20 seconds, a child dies because of poor sanitation
(Sources: United Nations and World Health Organization)
Maybe more than anything else, people need the right amount of clean water to live a healthy, safe, productive life.
Water affects everything: Nutrition, health, livelihood, even access to education.
Without water to drink, people can’t live. Without water for their crops and livestock, they can’t eat enough or earn a living. If their water isn’t clean, they won’t be healthy. If their water comes from a faraway source, they have to spend their days carrying it instead of going to school or earning an income—this affects women and girls the most.
And too much water—from monsoons and floods—is just as dangerous as too little.
If you don’t have a clean, reliable source of the right amount of water, life revolves around finding it. It’s a burden you struggle under every single day.
Three-quarters of a billion people around the world live this way.
The good news is that the world has met the 2015 millennium development goal of ensuring that at least 88% of people have access to safe, clean water. But that still leaves vast numbers of people without this vital human right. Most of them are poorer people in rural areas, and almost half live in sub-Saharan Africa. Universal access to safe, clean water could save millions of lives each year.
Closely linked to clean water is sanitation. More than one-third of the world’s population—2.5 billion people—do not have improved sanitation facilities, and 1 billion of them still practice open defecation. Too often, this contaminates the community’s water source, threatening people’s health and lives.
Providing clean, safe water and adequate sanitation are the basic first steps to improving the lives of the poor and freeing them to take steps out of poverty. A United Nations publication, “Safe Water as the Key to Global Health,” stated: “No other single intervention is more likely to have a significant impact on global poverty than the provision of safe water.”
How Islamic Relief is Helping
Islamic Relief has long launched water projects in impoverished communities, helping one village full of people at a time.
One such region is the Circle of Gorma Rharous in Mali, one of the world’s poorest countries. There, Islamic Relief is setting up irrigation systems so the communities are not dependent solely on rainwater and are therefore less vulnerable to drought. This project is literally turning the desert green. And now children who used to spend days carrying water can attend their new school instead.
Here’s a breakdown of some water and sanitation programs Islamic Relief has supported. You can read more about recent water-related efforts in this, IRUSA’s Donor Report: Water Projects, 2014 (PDF):
STRANDED COMMUNITY ACTION PROJECT, INCLUDING WATER PROGRAMS
DROP OF HOPE: PROVISION OF DRINKABLE WATER FOR RURAL SCHOOLS
WATER & LIVELIHOOD DEVELOPMENT FOR SOMALILAND & PUNTLAND
URGENT WATER SYSTEM REPAIRS FOR GAZA
Read “Water Saves Lives‐Builds Livelihoods,” a blog written by Islamic Relief USA’s Reem El-Khatib while in the field in Niger, about how Islamic Relief donors are helping bring clean water to communities in need.