Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of clean water, clean sanitation, and basic hygiene practices as essential building blocks for leading healthy lives and preventing disease. Humans cannot go more than three days without water and survive. Yet billions of people across the globe are living without reliable access to these necessities of life. Thirty-five percent of the world’s population – 2.5 billion people – lack improved sanitation facilities such as latrines and toilets, and 780 million people rely on contaminated drinking water sources. These same people struggle to obtain enough water to grow food, raise livestock, and protect their environments – all of which are essential to their families’ survival and livelihoods.
Relief International is working in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities to improve access to and the sustainable management of existing water sources. When required, we work with local partners to build new water and sanitation systems that connect communities to practical solutions. Local leaders are trained to manage and repair these systems, ensuring their operation outlasts our presence. We also partner with these leaders to create relevant messages that encourage healthy hygiene practices to promote health and prevent the spread of disease.
All of Relief International’s water, sanitation, and hygiene work is underpinned by protection measures. This means we ensure that groups with high vulnerability or special needs have access and dignity in attaining the clean water and safe sanitation they need for good health.
Our water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) activities include:
- Ensuring access to clean drinking water by creating sustainable boreholes and rainwater harvesting systems
- Monitoring existing boreholes to prevent over-extraction and damage to natural resources
- Employing alternative power sources, such as solar, in the operation of water sources to reduce reliance on fuel-powered equipment and greenhouse gas emissions
- Distributing water fairly by building pipelines and surface-water kiosks that consider water needs to households, schools, clinics, agriculture, livestock, and the environment
- In emergencies, trucking clean water to crisis-affected areas
- Training teachers and local leaders to promote public hygiene and deliver information on water treatment, conservation, and storage to improve lives at the household level
- Constructing latrines for households, schools, and clinics that are designed to withstand extreme weather events
- Distributing hygiene kits that include necessities like sanitary napkins, laundry and body soap, toothbrushes, and plastic combs
The essentials for a healthy life
Our water, sanitation, and hygiene work
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