It Kills Children
- 2.5 billion people worldwide lack access to clean water and a simple toilet
- 5 million people, mostly children under the age of 5, die each year from water-related illnesses
Surviving diarrhea is the greatest single challenge for our world’s children. Diarrhea is the leading cause of death of children in countries with high child mortality rates.
Even when children do survive, they too often do not thrive. Children weakened by frequent diarrheal illnesses are malnourished and vulnerable to other infections, like pneumonia, leaving them physically and mentally underdeveloped for the rest of their lives.
It Oppresses Women
- 200 million people, mostly women and girls, carry every drop of water their families use
- About 100 million children worldwide – mostly girls – receive no education at all mainly because they are expected to carry water.
Women and girls are traditionally responsible for water collection, walking miles to the nearest sources. In addition to chronic back pain and skin sores, the burden of hauling heavy containers of water leaves women with little or no time to manage their households or participate in income-generating work. Young girls help their mothers collect water, so are unable to attend school, perpetuating a cycle of illiteracy and poverty.
- What would it be like to strap a 25-lb container of water on your daughter’s back each day? Watch this video
- Learn more about water and poverty
It Deepens Poverty
- The world’s poorest spend $30 billion each year on the treatment of diseases caused by lack of access to water and toilets
Poor people spend a high percentage of their household income on medical treatment to combat frequent water-related illnesses. Additionally, without safe water sources nearby, women are often unable to engage in paid work or agriculture. Instead, their time is spent collecting water multiple times a day, caring for the ill in their households, or lacking the strength to work themselves because of injury or illness. In urban squatter settlements, the lack of clean water directly impacts a household’s income. In these areas, the poor are forced to buy water of unknown quality at very expensive rates from illegal connections and are subjected to exploitation by the slum power structure.