Why WASH?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know that:

  • over one in three people do not have an improved latrine (such as a pit toilet with some form of a lid) – that is 2.5 billion people world-wide1, and
  • one in seven people don’t have a toilet at all and have to defecate in the open – that is 1 billion people world-wide 1

 

WASH stands for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.  Why is WASH important?  Let us tell you …

 

Health

Over 840,000 deaths in low and middle income countries per year are a result of poor water, sanitation and hygiene.1 However, significant progress has been made and by 2012, 89 per cent of the population were using an improved drinking water source, including 56 per cent of the population who were using a piped drinking water connection on premises.2 Sixty four per cent of the population were using an improved sanitation facility, compared to 49% in 1990.3

 

Productivity

A US $1 investment in sanitation brings a $5.50 return, keeping people productive and able to go to work and school.4

 

Gender Equality

Women and girls often bear the responsibility for collecting water for domestic use, and spend over 152 million hours each day doing so.The United Nations predicts that “with the same access to productive resources as men, including water, women could increase yields on their farms by 20-30% and lift 150 million people out of hunger.”6 The effectiveness of water projects can be increased up to sevenfold by involving women as equal partners.7 Access to toilets also reduces the harassment and sexual violence risks associated with open defecation.8

 

Education

WASH in schools improves attendance and achievement, and promotes leadership, inclusiveness and dignity by:9

  • reducing water and hygiene related disease
  • encouraging children to lead change for improved WASH in their families and communities
  • fostering pride and shared-responsibility for WASH, thereby changing attitudes that these are roles for women, girls, or other specific groups
  • providing privacy and dignity, particularly for girls and children with special needs

 

Environment

Approximately 90 per cent of sewage in developing countries enters waterways untreated, contributing to the pollution of water supplies, fisheries, and agricultural land. Ecological sanitation technology can be used to prevent waterway contamination and use the nutrients in human waste to safeguard ecosystems.10

 

Would you like more information? 

See these additional resources:

  • World Health Organization and UN-Water. 2014. Investing in Water and Sanitation: Increasing Access, Reducing Inequalities: UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water. Available at http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/glaas/en/.
  • WHO / UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation.  Available at: http://www.wssinfo.org/
 

[1] World Health Organization. 2014. Sanitation: Fact Sheet No. 392. Available at  http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs392/en/

[2] World Health Organization and UNICEF. 2014. Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation: 2014 Update. Available at http://www.wssinfo.org/fileadmin/user_upload/resources/JMP_report_2014_webEng.pdf, p. v.

[3] World Health Organization and UNICEF, p. v.

[4] World Health Organization. 2014. Sanitation: Fact Sheet No. 392. Available at http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/sanitation.shtml.

[5] Water.org. 2014. Women. Available at http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/women/.

[6] United Nations Water. 2013. Water and Gender. Available at http://www.unwater.org/fileadmin/user_upload/unwater_new/docs/water_and_....

[7] United Nations Water. 2013. Water and Gender. Available at http://www.unwater.org/fileadmin/user_upload/unwater_new/docs/water_and_....

[8] UNICEF. 2012. Raising Even More Clean Hands: Advancing Health, Learning and Equity through WASH in Schools. Available at http://www.unicef.org/wash/schools/files/Raising_Even_More_Clean_Hands_W....

[9] UNICEF. 2012.

[10] UN-Water. 2009. Sanitation Protects the Environment. Available at http://www.wsscc.org/sites/default/files/sfa_factsheet_environment_2009_....