The sixth Sustainable Development Goal set by the United Nations to be achieved over the next 15 years is to ensure access to safe water sources and sanitation for all.
The fact that water covers 70% of our planet drives us to take it for granted.
However, the fresh water we can drink and use in our daily lives represents only 3% of that water.
Even worse, around 1.1 billion of the world’s population still face daily challenges accessing one of their basic needs that is access to water, while 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year. 2.7 people can not drink, nor bathe or cook food for at least one month.
The seriousness of water scarcity affects 40% of the world’s population, directly through the lack of access to clean water itself as well as sanitation services such as toilets, and indirectly through gender inequality, illiteracy, health threats and poor economic development.
Approximately half the victim population of the lack of access to clean drinking water as well as sanitation services are children, whose lives are affected on many levels.
Searching for potable water, or what is often called “the six miles journey,” is the daily mission for over 2 billion women and children across the globe. Instead of taking their natural seats at schools, children (unfortunately especially girls) spend hours fetching and transporting water from miles away water pumps and wells. When girls do manage the time to go to school, the lack of sanitation services frequently drives them to drop out by the age of puberty, as their sanitary needs increase.
The water fetching occupation hinders schooling and prohibits the children from pursuing their future ambitions. This daily chore is also a real threat to their lives, as they often walk long miles unaccompanied, exposed to abduction, rape, abuse, wild animals and insect attacks.
Children are further exposed to water-based hazards from non-potable water or water sources that have been contaminated by water-borne bacteria. These WASH-related issues are responsible for the death of more than 800 children every day from diarrhoeal diseases linked to poor hygiene and fecal contamination.
A standard toilet facility in Dar Si Hmad’s partner fog villages in Aït Baamrane
In 2016, the alarms are already flashing crimson red, and the call for action is pressing.
The United Nations set this #6 goal because managing water sustainably will not just allow humanity to better manage food and energy production, contribute to decent work and economic growth, preserve natural water ecosystems and biodiversity, and take action on climate change – but also literally save the lives of 2.2 billion people who are currently dying every year, simply because they do not have clean, potable running water or adequate toilets.
Dar Si Hmad is promoted to improving WASH for the communities of Aït Baamrane, Morocco, and the world. Join us on the Road to Marrakech as we prepare for COP22, celebrate the work we do, and explore what is yet to do.