One billion people on the planet do not have access to clean, safe drinking water. In the developing world, children die of thirst. Unsafe water causes 80% of diseases and kills more people every year than all forms of violence. Children are especially vulnerable because their bodies aren't strong enough to fight diarrhea and other illnesses that result from consumption of poor quality water.
It is estimated that in Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year just walking for water. The burden of water collection is born by women and children. Time spent walking keeps children from going to school and women from pursuing opportunities that could improve their families' incomes and lives. Along walks, women are exposed to rape and attack. The physical burden of carrying water over long distances can also lead to curved spines, pelvic deformations, and numerous other injuries. The amount and quality of water finally collected is not clean or adequate for practicing basic hygiene - directly leading to the spread of common diseases such as diarrhea.
However, with time spent collecting water and away from school and work, families cannot afford health care, so 2.2 million people die annually from diarrheal disease, most of them children. Unless water is within 100 meters, or a five minute walk from the home, water consumption simply does not increase by a significant amount. Conventional approaches to improving water access try to make a one-off improvement through constructing a well or spring, but these sources are often still a distance from the home, and their communal nature makes management and maintenance difficult.
Uganda - Current Programs
Uganda: Domestic Rainwater Harvesting
To contribute to poverty reduction and relieve women and children from the drudgery of fetching water, Relief International is improving access to safe water in the home by harvesting rainwater. Learn More...