“Water is essential for life… Yet many millions of people around the world face water shortages. Many millions of children die every year from water-borne diseases … We need to free women and girls from the daily chore of hauling water, often over great distances … We need to make sanitation a priority…a major effort is still required.” Kofi Annan Secretary General of the United Nations 22 March 2005

The denial of the basic human rights of water and sanitation should be seen as a global scandal. Improving access to safe water and sanitation is listed as part of the Millennium Development Goal to “ensure environmental sustainability”. It states that the UN has committed to:

“Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation”

Operation WellFound has been focusing efforts in sub-Saharan Africa since 2008. We are determined to make a world of difference and contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Please click here to help.

“Together, we can provide safe, clean water to all the world’s people.” Kofi Annan Secretary General of the United Nations 22 March 2005.

The increasing effects of human induced climate change and environmental crises, such as worsening droughts, are making many communities’ access to water and sanitation even more precarious. Globally, water and sanitation poverty is more severe in rural areas. In sub-Saharan Africa, rural areas have less than half of the sanitation coverage of urban areas. Without sanitation, people may have no choice but to defecate in the open. This strips people of their dignity, puts women at risk from rape and attack when they go out alone and it spreads disease. The impact of unclean water and poor sanitation on the spread of water-borne disease is significant. Diarrhea is the leading cause of death in the world: killing 2.2 million people every year, including a child every 20 seconds. Deaths can be easily prevented by increasing access to clean water, sanitation facilities and basic hygiene education.

Water poverty is gendered: the task of collecting water usually falls to women and children. If they have to travel long distances, women may be unable to work or look after their families and children may not have time to go to school or play. A reliable and local supply of water can free them from this task; giving women time to work, which can increase their economic independence or food security, and children time to go to school.

The Millennium Development Goals received widespread attention from politicians and the media alike and, when progress towards the target began to slow in 2005, UN countries committed to the Water for Life Decade 2005–2015 in an attempt to renew support. Yet people living in poverty are still being let down by those who hold the power to affect change. The World Health Organisation now suggests that no sub-Saharan African country is on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal to improve access to sanitation by 2015.

More recently in July 2010, the UN convened and declared access to safe and clean water a Human Right.  The UN report further elaborated that lack of access to water killed more children annually than AIDS, malaria and measles combined, while the lack of sanitation affected 2.6 billion people, or 40 per cent of the global population.  It is only by collaboration and joint effort that we can alleviate these problems. Operation WellFound is keen to establish partnerships that foster this basic human right. We encourage the public to respond to this cause for the good of these communities suffering on a daily basis.

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