Clean water changes lives. Really. Consider this: In some developing countries, women and girls take a bucket every morning and walk several hours, tediously collecting water for their households. School and work time suffers. Instead of learning how to read and write, girls carry the burden of providing water for their families. But without water, how is the household going to survive?
Together with local communities we build and maintain wells, boreholes and latrines in their villages. It’s a joint effort – CARE provides training and construction materials while the communities contribute labour and pay for operation and maintenance costs. The goal of these projects: reduce the health risks of water-related diseases and shorten the time women and girls need to fetch water from distant sources. With their saved time, they can earn an income or go to school.
In schools the absence of safe drinking water, soap for washing hands and toilets can create an environment of embarrassment, shame and disgust – particularly for adolescent girls. We provide safe water, hygiene promotion and sanitation facilities to help keep girls in school. And we train families on adequate hygiene practice to reduce the risk of illnesses.
In our view, women’s empowerment goes hand-in-hand with the improvement and equitable governance of water supply and sanitation facilities. CARE promotes local management of natural water sources and we include women in these discussions so they can contribute their part.