World Water Day: Clean Water Empowers Women, Girls

March 22, 2012
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March 22 is World Water Day, but for many people around the world, securing safe drinking water is still not obtainable. While unsafe water effects all members of a community, women and children, girls especially, carry the burdens that result from not having water that is easily-accessible, clean, and safe.

There are currently 36 countries that are not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) established by the United Nations for global water security. Two-thirds of these 36 countries are in Sub-Saharan Africa. There are many pockets in other regions as well that are lagging behind. UNICEF and its partners are strengthening efforts to help these countries successfully meet drinking water goals by 2015 or shortly thereafter.

But the task is incredibly complicated. Disparities between regions, countries, rural and urban areas, women and girls, and household income reveal some of the key matters that need attention today. Access to water and sanitation affects children’s right to education in many ways, and lack of these facilities in schools can have a detrimental effect on children.

It can lead to intestinal worms which research shows, saps a child’s learning ability, affects their food intake, and can lead to diarrheal diseases that may cause children to lose school days. In essence, this impacts their learning, leading to children not being able to catch up classes, and can eventually lead to children dropping out of school all together. This is particularly true for girls, who with no water or private toilets may miss 25% of classes every month.

For example, in Nigeria: A poor, rural Hausa girl completes only 0.3 years of education; a wealthier or urban boy completes 10.3 years.

Read more: Huffington Post

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