Accessing clean, safe water is vital for children in vulnerable communities

Accessing clean, safe water is vital for children in vulnerable communities

Imagine a world where every child everywhere had access to clean, safe drinking water. A world where the risk of potentially fatal waterborne diseases was low for children, and their chance of a healthy and bright future was high.

Imagine a world where children didn't have to walk long distance to collect water for their families or take time off school due to illness caused by a waterborne disease and miss out on valuable learning time. 

ChildFund believes that accessing clean, safe water should be a given for children and that's why working with communities to access clean, safe water, along with better sanitation and hygiene is a focus in the places we work.

For example, a local water point means vulnerable children are less at risk as they are not walking long distances to collect water, while accessing water from a known safe source helps to prevent waterborne diseases. 

According to the World Health Organization, globally there are over 2 billion people who use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces and this poses one of the great risks to drinking water. Contaminated water can transmit diseases such as diarrhoea and dysentery, that can be fatal especially to infants and children whose immune systems aren't yet strong enough to fight diseases off. Lack of sufficient hygiene practices, sanitation and healthcare make it so much worse for children in vulnerable communities. 

Emali in Kenya, where ChildFund works, is a semi-arid area with seasonal rivers and people living in rural communities, where piped water is unavailable, and where people must walk long distances for water. A task often given to children, taking away from their precious study, learning and playing time. 

Distances of up to 4 kilometres are not uncommon to reach the nearest water source, a trip required six times a week to meet a family's water needs. 

That's why installing waterpoints, like a recent one completed in the village of Nduundune, means children have more time to play and learn and the adults, who earn income from casual labour and small-scale farming, have more time to focus on income generation and their children. Or a recent pipeline extension from a borehole at Mwanyani supplies water to 2,700 people over 500 households, along with 900 students at a nearby primary and secondary school. 

In Batticaloa in Sri Lanka ChildFund works with communities to better access basics like water and food, the situation is especially serious for the children. When safe drinking water is scarce, children are at high risk of contracting waterborne diseases.

Mums in Batticaloa bear the brunt of this daily challenge and often they rise before dawn and walk to fetch water, they have to go early as 30 other families use the same well and the sooner, they get there the less time in line and the less murky the water is. 

 In Batticaloa, ChildFund is improving toilet facilities at schools, training teachers on child hygiene and sanitation, conducting household visits to spread awareness about the importance of hygiene and to distribute helpful materials, along with supporting the establishment of community groups to promote good health and hygiene. 

We work with communities with the aim that they become self-sufficient in providing the basics children need to thrive, and so we (with support) can move on to help another community.

With your support, we can help communities reach the goal of self-sufficiency in providing the basics to children through better access to safe water, sanitation, education, healthcare and child protection, along with more livelihood opportunities for their families.

You can help ChildFund to do even more projects to help children and communities access clean, safe drinking water.