WATER AND SANITATION

Clean Water and Sanitation - Toilets, wells, pumps and pipes for communities.

Access to clean water and sanitation is possibly the most urgent health crisis facing communities today. One in every nine people on this planet lack daily access to safe water, and one in every three have no toilet.

It’s a problem that particularly affects women and girls, as women perform the majority of the world’s water-collecting, and girls are often prevented from attending school due to inadequate toilet facilities. Not to mention they are also the primary careers for family members who are suffering the ill effects of water-borne diseases. When the burden of water collection and poor sanitation is taken away from women the benefits are extraordinary; clean water and adequate sanitation means freedom for women.

 

Water and sanitation systems though, can be constructed with the simplest and cheapest of materials, and family members can be taught how to do it themselves. This is the community-based approach used by HOPE Sri Lanka’s local partners. A plastic can with a string and a stick can be transformed into a hand washing tap, cast-concrete rings become a hand-dug toilet, and hand set bricks are built up into home water tanks. When communities need bigger inputs, like wells and pumps, they are taught to collectively manage the resource for the benefit of all village members.

 

Water is also a justice issue, with some authorities promising connections but not delivering the services. That’s when access becomes an advocacy priority, and HOPE Sri Lanka’s local partners mobilize communities to campaign for their rights to the water and sanitation connections to be made available through the government system. After all, why should the wealthy suburbs get water but the slums miss out?

 

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