After air, nothing is as important to the existence of life on earth as water.
884 million people worldwide have no access to safe drinking water.
2.6 billion people worldwide lack access to basic sanitation, so a third of the global population simply squat behind a bush, the results of which are often washed into the drinking water supply.
This causes diarrhoea, which causes dehydration, which causes the sufferer to drink contaminated water and so on. It is a downward spiral which costs many lives and millions of hours of lost productivity and schooling. Diarrhoeal disease kills more children globally than AIDS, Malaria & Measles combined. Click here for the plain facts and figures.
In Uganda, the situation is dire. While it has many water sources, much of this water lies on the surface. Lack of sanitation, currently estimated at just 49%, results in the open sources being contaminated. Safe water coverage is currently estimated at 64% but is far lower in rural areas than urban and 87% of Ugandans live in rural areas. In our experience, and that of organisations such as WaterAid, we know that coverage figures fail to take into account whether the sources are functional. In some cases we find true coverage to be no more than 30%. Simple maths demonstrates just how desperate the need is in rural Uganda.
As well as causing tragic, unnecessary deaths, illness costs time and money. Children cannot attend school; parents cannot be as productive in the fields or at work; and the medicine to treat illness is expensive. An inescapable cycle of poverty in the poorest regions of one of the world’s poorest countries.
Read more about the issues in the 2006 UNDP Human Development Report