Every child, no matter where they are in the world, has a dream about what they'll be when they grow up. But not every child has the opportunity to realize those dreams. Globally, three of every 10 schools do not have clean water or adequate toilets exposing millions of children to deadly diseases and denying them a productive, safe education.
WaterAid is tackling this challenge one school at a time! Jointly funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada, WaterAid's Clean Water for Schools Program will reach 170 schools and over 120,000 students and teachers in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia with access to water, new or rehabilitated toilets and hygiene facilities but the time it wraps up later in 2017.
Through School Health Clubs children are learning about the importance of basic hygiene and gender sensitivities, and gaining the confidence they need to speak for themselves. Community members' school management committees are being trained on how to maintain and repair all water and sanitation facilities so that they last for the long term. As a result, communities enjoy healthier school environments where children can learn, thrive and start preparing for their future.
This include children like Sharo. She is 13 and attends Racecourse Primary School in Pangani, Nairobi, Kenya:
"The best thing this health club has done for me is that it gives me back my confidence. I am not sure if I would ever be able to speak in front of people if it was not for the club. Now I go home and if my siblings eat my food or do something that is not fair, I go to my Dad and complain. He looks at me and says, "What did they do to you at that school?" He does not care what I am complaining about. He is just amazed that I am able to stand up for myself. I told him the whole story, but he still does not believe I have become this confident. It changed my life."
In May 2016, Marie Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, launched the Government of Canada's International Assistance Review seeking the views of experts, partners and engaged citizens on a new international assistance policy, funding and delivery framework.
WaterAid Canada invited organizations and experts from across Canada to develop a collaborative submission.Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: Essential Elements of Canada's International Development Assistance presented the latest research and knowledge and provides a decisive case for strengthening investment in water, sanitation and hygiene and integrating them with all of Canada's development priorities.
* We did sanitation and hygiene work before these dates, but this is when we started formally recording numbers.
While midwives in Canadian hospitals benefit from stringent hygiene protocols, those in many areas of the developing world, such as Tanzania, may start their day struggling to find enough water to clean floors and bedlinens, to wash their hands and to offer labouring women a drink.
Midwives like Sarah, who works at the Kashishi Health Centre in Geita District in Tanzania.
"Our health centre does not have a reliable water supply connection; we only have a rainwater-harvesting tank, which serves staff with water for a month during rainy seasons. Most time we buy water from vendors at 500 TZ shillings. This water is not safe for human consumption since it's collected from unprotected spring wells, contaminated by people mining gold. Each pregnant woman who comes to give birth from here is requested to provide 40 litres of water to the midwife for use during the delivery process (20 litres for washing her body and another 20 litres for the nurse)."
Together with Amref Health Africa, WaterAid launched Canada-Africa Initiative to Address Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality (CAIA-MNCM), a four-year project in the Geita and Nyang'hwale districts of Geita region in Tanzania. The Tanzania project aims to improve the health and wellbeing of mothers and children. It will contribute towards reduced maternal, newborn and child mortality through an integrated approach focused on strengthening health systems, reducing the burden of diseases, and improving nutrition.
Funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada, this is part of a comprehensive project being implemented in four African countries: Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi.
We joined forces with Cirque du Soleil's ONE Drop Foundation to promote hygiene and inspire behaviour change through the power of social arts in Mali. Built on the strength of WaterAid's technical expertise, this unique program incorporates ONE Drop's innovative approach to hygiene promotion, drawing on local traditions to create participatory shows such as dancing, singing and storytelling to capture attention and spark behaviour change. The program also empowers women and youth through the development of income-generating activities, such as making soap, improve their access to new economic opportunities, and decent employment.
Woti Diallo is the President of the women's goup, in the village of Samabogo, about 40 kilometres from Bla in Mali. It is home to almost 2500 women:
"With this program, we are setting out to change this situation by bringing clean water, decent toilets and hygiene awareness to communities in the Circles of Bla and Kati. These three essentials can unleash a powerful cycle of opportunity, enabling people to break free from poverty. Together the three form an essential platform for progress in health, education, work, and economic growth and development."
For World Water Day, we released Wild Water: State of the World's Water Report 2017. In it, we domonstrated how extreme weather events that cause flooding, prolonged drought and contaminated water sources are becoming far more frequent. For the world's poorest people, for whom access to clean water is already a struggle, a lengthening dry season or unpredictable rain wipes out years of hard work to get ahead. Such climate-related disasters often wipe out fragile water and toilet services, disproportionately affecting the poorest communities. Diseases then spread, making a bad situation much worse.
In areas of southern Africa gripped by drought or vulnerable to sea flooding, we worked with communities to build deeper, better protected borehole wells. In Ghana and other countries, we worked with the national government to embed water and sanitation into their climate change resilience plans. We called on governments to increase efforts to meet their commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Water is critical at every stage of a woman's life beginning at birth, during early childhood and into adulthood when she may give birth to daughters of her own. Tragically, millions of women around the world have to wake up every morning and walk for miles down uneven paths to the nearest water hole to collect their family's water. In Madagascar, women and girls walk an average of 6 kilometres every day to fetch water, preventing young girls from getting an education and keeping mothers from caring for their family or earning a living.
Together with our partner, Aveda Canada, we're making progress toward our goal of providing water, toilets and hygiene to every school, every health clinic and every village in the Belavabary and Sabotsy Anjiro regions of Madagascar, reaching 20,000 children, women and men. With clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, families can be healthier and reach their full potential.
In the fall of 2016, Merit Travel Group called on their employees and clients to be mindful of the broader world around them and to make a difference by supporting WaterAid. And rise to the challenge their did, donating more than $30,000! Funds will help students like Fozia at Korebtit Primary School in Ethiopia through our Clean Water for Schools Project.