facts about sanitation in ChadChad is a country highly dependent on agriculture with two-thirds of the population employed in such a capacity. For agriculture to thrive, water must be plentiful. However, for Chad, ensuring access to adequate water supplies has and continues to be a challenge. Additionally, the citizenry at large suffers from a lack of sanitized water, which increases the danger of disease transmission. Here are 6 facts about sanitation and access to water in Chad.

6 Facts About Sanitation in Chad

  1. Basic water services: In 2019, 61% of Chad’s population lacked access to basic water services. Many had to obtain drinking water from an improved source like a well or piped water.
  2. Open defecation: 69% of Chad’s population practices open defecation, a result of Chad being the country with the largest percentage of its population without access to a toilet. Among the poorest Chadians, access to toilets improved by 7% between 2000 and 2017. However, 88% of them still practice open defecation.
  3. Hand washing: Chad is one of 19 countries where more than 50% of the population does not have a handwashing facility. Additionally, 76% of Chad’s people have no handwashing facility in their home. This is especially salient today since the World Health Organization recommends hand hygiene as “the most effective single measure to reduce the spread of infections”.
  4. Lake Chad: This body of water borders Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad and supports the existence of 30 million people. This economically important source of water, however, has shrunk by 90% since the 1960s. For communities reliant on fishing, farming and herding, a diminishing Lake Chad translates into resource constraints and sometimes conflict.
  5. Refugee crisis: Conflict caused by Boko Haram and other insurgent groups in the region has displaced thousands of Chadians and others. For example, in Kobiteye, a refugee camp bordering the Central African Republic, 24,000 refugees live without adequate access to water.
  6. Lethality: The inability to consume clean water is costly, taking the lives of thousands in Chad. A U.N. report found children under five in conflict-affected states were “more than 20 times more likely to die” from unsafe water or lack of sanitation than from the conflict itself.


In response to Chad’s water crisis, some organizations and governments have stepped up assistance. In 2019, World Vision Chad redirected 70% of its funding to providing safe water access. They reached 18,000 displaced refugees with 45 boreholes. A few years ago, USAID dug 113 wells that reached 35,000 people since 2008.

Other organizations are focusing on leveraging technology to improve water access. Chad’s Ministry of Water and Sanitation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation partnered to fund the ResEau project, a 10-year 3D mapping initiative designed to improve borehole drilling. Before ResEau began, boreholes successfully reached water 30 to 40% of the time. Now, boreholes successfully reach water over 60 percent of the time.

Additionally, ResEau also contributed to creating a master’s degree program in Hydrology and GIS at the University of N’Djamena in Chad. This program has benefited more than 100 students so far, many of whom work for Chad’s Ministry of Water and Sanitation. Leapfrog, the 3D technology company that ResEau used for its geological modeling, stated that the project “will enrich the livelihood of all those who live in Chad, by providing the skills and knowledge needed for a robust integrated water management system”. Steps like these represent successes that individual donors and donor governments need to build upon.

– Jonathan Helton 
Photo: Flickr

Adequate sanitation and toilets are basic necessities that ensure and promote the health of people in developing countries. The importance of sanitation and toilets lies in helping reduce the spread of diseases. Sanitation systems aim to protect health by providing and promoting a clean environment.

Developing countries face challenges in accessing sanitation and hygiene care. The CDC states that hundreds of millions of people do not have access to adequate clean drinking water and that over one million deaths are a result of diseases transmitted via unclean water, poor sanitation and lack of hygiene. Access to soap is an importance of hygiene, and often a challenge in availability for developing countries. The CDC offers an effective hand washing station within communities in need of proper hygiene. Known as Tippy Taps, these stations use less water and soap than other means of hand washing.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is approaching the importance of sanitation and toilets by partnering with several organizations to reduce water-borne diseases. The Water, Sanitation & Hygiene initiative aims to reduce disease and improve lives by looking closely at communities and governments to understand their environment and what is suitable for providing hygiene and water. The Gates Foundation also supports establishing an end to open defecation and upgrading latrines in order to encourage people to practice good hygiene as well as increasing the demand for sanitation.

The World Bank is addressing the importance of sanitation and toilets through the Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) initiative, which assesses the relationship between poverty and hygiene to properly develop methods in bringing hygiene and water. The World Bank found that the effects of unsafe drinking water and lack of proper hygiene result in various other health issues, such as child stunting. WASH, in coordination with other organizations, works to provide appropriate services. The WASH program aims to reduce childhood mortality via investing clean water access to rural communities.

Shedding light on the importance of sanitation and toilets can lead to proposing and establishing sustainable sanitation for communities with no access to sanitation. The disparities of hygiene access need to be addressed to ensure the health of communities and generations to come.

– Jennifer Serrato

Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in GuatemalaWater quality in Guatemala has become an increasingly important issue because the country is facing one of its worst droughts in decades. The drought has reduced access to clean water, and poor water quality has resulted in the spread of waterborne illnesses throughout the country. Additionally, this lack of water means immense food shortages and increasing malnutrition among children in Guatemala.

Approximately 43 percent of Guatemalan children under the age of five are fatally malnourished, and among rural Guatemalan children this number rises to around 80 percent. It is in rural areas that the drought has the strongest effect, as there is less access to clean water and there are more stagnant bodies of water that increase the spread of disease.

Due to the drought, Guatemala’s disposal of solid and liquid waste in local bodies of water is having a larger impact than ever. With limited quantities of clean water, the waste that is deposited in rivers makes the spread of disease and infection in the population even more rampant. Access to clean water is a major issue facing the country, but there have been some strides in resolving it.

Guatemala was able to reduce the percentage of citizens without access to drinking water to 50 percent, which met the 2015 Millennium Development Goal for access to clean water. In 2016, 93 percent of Guatemalans had access to non-polluted water, which is an impressive statistic.

There are also nonprofit organizations working to improve water quality in Guatemala. Water for People is an organization that focuses on providing clean water to certain communities in impoverished nations. They currently have a number of projects running in Guatemala, one of which is the Everyone Forever program. The program pledges to provide water and sanitation to every single person in those communities, forever. This is a very ambitious project, but it is also incredibly important.

In addition to simply providing clean water to those in Santa Cruz Del Quiche, or San Bartolome Jocotenago, Water for People creates a model that can be replicated by governments to provide water and sanitation for all parts of the nation. The organization also has programs for watershed management and school programming related to water sanitation.

There are also, of course, programs set in place by United Nations agencies such as the Pan American Health Organization, UNDP, and UNICEF. These organizations put in place measures that will raise the living conditions of people in poor communities, primarily through improving water sanitation systems.

Ultimately, water quality in Guatemala is a major issue, but there are improvements being made. Through collaboration between NGOs, the Guatemalan government and United Nations agencies, the issue of water quality and access in the country will hopefully be resolved soon, improving the quality of life for all of its residents.

Liyanga De Silva

Photo: Flickr

One of the biggest issues in many developing nations with regards to poverty is the lack of necessary resources. One such resource that many impoverished people lack is safe and sustainable drinking water.

Though most countries seem to have plenty of water sources, many of these are not safe for people. This means they are not safe not only to drink but to bathe in, as many people do in poor and underdeveloped nations.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has done studies that have shown that only approximately 59 percent of the world’s population has access to safe drinking water. WHO also has stated that it is proven that having adequate and sustainable water resources has prevented the outbreak and spread of disease. This means that the other 41 percent of the global population without safe drinking water are not only without a resource necessary for the sustenance of life, but are also at risk for the outbreak and spread of dangerous diseases.

For example, unsafe and contaminated water sources are responsible for the increasingly rampant spread of dangerous diseases in Africa, especially amongst young children and the elderly. Although just over half of the world has access to safe drinking water, only about 16 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa has access to such a resource.

This issue revolves around a number of flaws in the maintenance of water filtration systems in poorer countries in Africa. It is also attributed to a lack of education for the people in what they should consider safe drinking water, the potential risks of drinking from unsafe sources and how to get access to safer water.

How to make water drinkable:

Despite the flaws in the system, there are a number of actions being taken by NGOs and charity organizations as an effort to end such problems with such an essential resource. For example, The Water Project is a nonprofit organization that works with communities in sub-Saharan Africa to create sustainable and safe water filtration systems. This includes not only building infrastructure that would physically yield more drinking water, but also educating the people of the region in safer habits and smarter financial practices that would make these efforts have a more long-term impact.

It is through organizations and programs such as these and smarter maintenance of innovative systems by the states themselves in underdeveloped and developing nations that will make sustainable water resources something that 100 percent of the world’s population will soon have access to.

Alexandrea Jacinto

Sources: The Water Project, World Health Organization

Earlier this week, Tanzanian government officials vowed to improve water access and sanitation conditions for its millions of citizens residing in urban and rural areas.

Conditions in the country have become extensively dire since the end of the past century. The Tanzanian government intends to establish either a water fund or agency through legislation that it believes will be brought to the government’s House by next year.

Climate change is not helping the problem. The Great Ruaha River has consistently experienced dry spells since the late 1990s. In fact, since the dry spells began, the population along the river basin has doubled from 3 to 6 million inhabitants.

Currently, only 40 percent of Tanzanians have access to clean water. The government hopes that percentage will jump to 75 percent by next year with additional funding for water programs in rural areas.

While a lack of accessible clean water in Tanzania causes health concerns, including diarrhea, cholera and typhoid, the lack of water throughout the country has created problems for farmers and businesses. Inadequate water supplies continue to generate crop shortages and failures.

While water shortages remain a problem, the vast majority of Tanzanians do not have access to sanitation. Critics have argued that the government does not spend enough on water and sanitation facilities given the country’s large and increasing population.

For years, the government has not possessed the necessary funds to improve the problem. Coupled with indifferent and at times uninterested community leaders, the country continues to experience hardships at a local and national level. Numerous towns and cities throughout the country are in need of new water infrastructure and repairs to existing equipment. A 1997 report estimated that an equivalent of 620 million U.S. dollars was required to fix the problem.

Fortunately for Tanzanians, the government has started to begin work on water projects with the intention to provide water for rural and urban communities. It is thought that educating Tanzanians about sanitation and safe water principles may help to alleviate the problem.

Yet, part of the challenge involves getting local community leaders to be both engaged and trained to help oversee the individual projects. Many local leaders lack an adequate knowledge about the water infrastructure.

However, the government intends to train and educate the communities about the projects, some of which has already begun. Observers believe that through a coordinated effort among the government, local leaders and Tanzanians, the country can make a difference in improving sanitation conditions and water in Tanzania.

Ethan Safran

Sources: All Africa 1, All Africa 2, All Africa 3, All Africa 4, All Africa 5, All Africa 6, The Guardian
Photo: Africa 6000 International

Water is a necessary means for survival. Water covers two-thirds of planet Earth. The human body consists of 75 percent water. Water is involved in all bodily functions including digestion, respiration, maintaining body temperature, and adequate performance of all bodily functions. Early civilizations developed around easily accessible clean drinking water sources. Water is vital to life; that is a given. But what if accessing clean drinking water was not as easy as turning on the faucet, or opening a bottle of Dasani? The continuing water crisis in sub-Saharan Africa proves that this kind of access is not always so easy.

Water scarcity is a tragic reality for many regions of the world. Astoundingly, 85 percent of the world’s people live in the driest regions of the world. According to UN Water, 783 million world citizens do not have access to clean water. Among that demographic, 6 to 8 million die every year from water related disasters and diseases. Incredibly, in the year 2000, 2.4 billion people lacked access to water sanitation, and 1.1 billion lacked access to fresh water sources. The populations suffering the most are in rural, poor areas of the world.

The most common water related diseases occur due to lack of sanitation. According to Dr. Lee Jong-wook, Director General at World Health Organization (WHO), “Water and Sanitation is one of the primary drivers of public health,” and refers to water and sanitation as “Health 101.” Jong-Wook further explains that if communities secure access to water and sanitation, “a huge battle against all kinds of diseases will be won.” Two of the deadliest water and sanitation related diseases are diarrhea and malaria.

According to data by World Health Organization, the four driving factors in the water and sanitation crisis are: access to water supply and sanitation, sanitation gap, emergencies and disasters, and water resources.

The sanitation gap refers to an increase in population growth combined with low sanitation development growth. The number of people with access to hygienic sanitation facilities, such as toilets and hand washing tools, has declined slightly since the 1990s because construction cannot keep up with population growth.

Floods and drought are the most dangerous water-related disasters. Flooding causes contamination of drinking water, and destructed systems of hygiene and wastewater. Droughts cause the most death because they can initiate malnutrition and deny the community a water supply. 66 percent of people dwelling in sub-Saharan Africa live in areas of little to no rainfall which often results in failed vegetation and agricultural efforts. More than 300 to 800 sub-Saharan Africans live in a water-scarce location.

Water resource development is the key to helping world citizens fulfill the basic human right of accessing clean water. As former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan stated, “Access to safe water is a fundamental human need and therefore a basic human right.”

– Laura Reinacher

Sources: Rights to Water and Sanitation, UNICEF, UN Water
Photo: Because water

As a part of the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Power Distribution Program, the agency is currently helping Karachi Water and Sewage Board to improve water supply for the 21 million inhabitants of Karachi, Pakistan’s biggest city. The Power Distribution Program is a 5 year, $60 million project to improve electric power utilities across Pakistan.

Karachi currently uses a 20-year old system of pumping stations that pump water from filtration plants into the city, but are extremely energy inefficient. The pumps use huge amounts of electricity from the grid, creating expensive electricity bills for the city, and providing less water to its citizens. Some areas of the city are unable to access water several times a month, simply because the pumps are unable to provide enough for the entire city.

The new pumps installed by USAID will be modern, and highly efficient. 41 out of 75 new pumps have already been installed, and the rest are expected to be completed by the end of September. The electric efficiency rate before the new pumps was at an average of 29 percent, but the new pumps will boost that to 55-65 percent, decreasing the city’s energy cost by $1.15 million per annum. All residents of Karachi will now be able to access water on a regular basis. In addition to saving energy and providing more water, the new pumps will save time and money spent on daily maintenance for the pumps.

In addition to improving the water systems in Karachi, the Power Distribution Program is also working directly with Pakistan’s government owned power distribution companies to increase their efficiency by introducing new technologies, training in human resources management and customer service, and creating legal and political space for the companies to operate.

– Emma McKay

Sources: PDIP, Daily Times

Approximately 3.575 million people die each year from water-related diseases, and about 5,000 children worldwide die everyday. 894 million people do not have access to clean water. The water crisis that plagues many developing nations is something that, while difficult to eradicate completely, can at least be managed with the help of foreign aid. There are many recent innovations to solve these water-related issues that are both cheap and cost-effective.

One of these innovations, the ceramic water filter, has already been implemented in nations such as Cambodia and Nigeria. However, the filter is also being used in poor areas of rural Texas near the Mexican border. B. Stephen Carpenter II, a professor at Pennsylvania State University, has recently become involved in producing ceramic water filters, which are made by a combination of claw and combustible material (e.g. sawdust) and then fired in a kiln. The ceramic filters are estimated to remove 95% of particulate matter (any types of bacteria or harmful substances that may carry diseases) from the water. The video above shows how Carpenter makes the filters.

Carpenter claims that the ceramic water filter is one of the most cost-effective types of water filtration. One filter, which costs about $15 US dollars, is enough for a family of four to have access to clean water for five years. It is no surprise that this effective filter has found success in developing countries as well. Since the introduction of the ceramic water filter in Cambodia in 2002, there has been a 50% drop in diarrheal illnesses. The program is already being expanded to become accessible to even more Cambodians who are in dire need of a simple way to make their water clean. UNICEF and the Water Sanitation Program (WSP) were given the Project Innovation Award Grand Prize in 2008 for their efforts in Cambodia.

– Sagar Desai

Sources: Inhabitat, Penn State News


Drinking water is a major problem for many parts of Africa, particularly in refugee camps, where minimal living conditions are make it difficult to secure safe drinking water. The recommended minimum amount of water a person needs in an emergency situation is 15 liters a day. In Ab Gadam, a refugee camp in southeast Chad, UNHCR struggles to provide refugees with 10 liters per person per day. Currently in Ab Gadam the drinking water is filtered from a nearby lake, however, when the rain comes, this source of water will be cut off. UNHCR is trying to find new solutions to be able to meet this challenge.

“It is really serious…we need to increase the supply – and that is what we are working on,” said Dominique Porteaud, UNHCR’s senior water and sanitation officer. He made it clear that if a solution was not found people would turn to alternative, unsafe ways of obtaining water that could lead to disease.

Zenab, a refugee living in Ad Gadam with five children, knows all too well the effect unsanitary water can have. After having to flee their village in the troubled West Darfur region, she and her family spent weeks in the border area. While there they dug small holes in the ground to find drinking water. This drinking water was not filtered and caused Zenab’s two-year-old son Ali to get sick. After entering the Ad Gadam camp, Ali is still sick but is now receiving treatment.

As the rain season quickly approaches UNHCR has been looking at several different approaches to supply safe drinking water to the refugees of Ad Gadam. Some of these measures include increasing the number and size of water storage tanks and continuing the search for productive boreholes.

UNHCR has already developed a water treatment plant, which chemically sanitizes water brought in from the nearby lake. The plant can produce enough clean water to supply refugees with 10.5 liters per day, which is still short of the minimum recommended. Refugees have also begun to find their own source of clean drinking water. Zenab and her family collect rainwater that they use to clean clothes, pots and pans, and bathe.

To inform people about the dangers of unsafe drinking water, UNHCR has begun to run awareness programs that stress the importance of clean water, sanitation and hygiene. “It is important that everybody, including the children, know about the best use of water and the dangers of drinking dirty water,” says Barka Mahamat Barka, a UNHCR water and sanitation expert.

– Catherine Ulrich

Sources: UNHCR, UN
Photo: Contribute


For the people living in the Korogocho slums in Nairobi, Kenya, life can be a constant struggle. The threat of disease and unclean drinking water looms in the minds of those who have no other options but to live in areas with broken sewage pipes and “flying toilets.” These unsanitary conditions put the people in Korogocho at risk for health problems and leave them vulnerable to exploitative water companies.

The typical day for someone living in the slums may involve the use of a flying toilet, a plastic bag used to dispose of human waste. While there are some pay-toilets, most people cannot afford the money to use one. As a result, these plastic bags can be found discarded in the streets of the slums among the broken sewer lines.

As the population in Nairobi grows, more slums are popping up. In Kenya the number of people without access to toilets has risen to 20%. Access to piped water is even lower in urban areas, 38.4% (and 13.4% of the rural population). These numbers are likely to mimic the sanitation circumstances in Nairobi.

The health implications of unsanitary water systems are illnesses including malnutrition, diarrhea, cholera and typhoid fever. When water mixes with sewage, it creates a breeding ground for inimical viruses and germs. International health organizations and Kenya’s government are eager to improve sanitation in order to save lives. Currently one in five African children die from diarrhea before the age of five.

Simple ways to improve the sanitation system in Korogocho include mobile toilets, bucket removal, and dry composting toilets. However, even these solutions can result in human remains ending up in the Nairobi River. The Kenyan population is expected to increase by one million people every year, which will further exacerbate the struggling water and sanitation system. Until these problems are seriously addressed, Kenyans will continue endure preventable illnesses.

– Mary Penn

Source: IRIN News
Photo: The Guardian