An international organization believes in ending water scarcity in developing countries. Water For People is a non-profit that focuses on establishing proper infrastructure and sanitation to remedy the lack of clean water around the globe.
They are especially concerned with the impact water scarcity has on women and girls, who often bear the burden for water collection.
They work at the ground level to build trust within the community and by tailoring their solutions to the issues at hand. Local governments, community members and business owners are all required to co-invest, ensuring that all partners have an equal stake in the results. This collaboration allows for a better understanding the abilities of a community to finance and maintain the projects for the future.
The U.N. states that more than 2 billion people are affected by water scarcity. That figure is expected to rise due to climate change. This is especially problematic for developing countries struggling with poverty.
According to Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group, “Economic growth in some regions could be cut by as much as six percent because of water scarcity alone.”
That is why one of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 includes improved access to clean water and sanitation. There are several targets for doing so, including moves to:
- End open defecation, which can threaten the viability of water resources;
- Improve water quality by reducing pollution, dumping and the release of hazardous materials;
- Protect and restore water-related ecosystems;
- Support the participation of local communities in improving water management;
This last target is where Water For People comes in. The organization, which was established by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) in 1991, has provided access to clean water in nine developing countries: Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Peru, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and India.
Sanjay Wijesekera, UNICEF’s global head of water, sanitation and hygiene put it simply: “No matter where you look, access to clean drinking water makes a difference in the lives of people.”
The fight for ending water scarcity is ongoing but there continues to be an increase in access to clean water thanks to Water For People.
– Sabrina Santos