Water is our human right

July 29th, 2020

It’s ten years since the United Nations General Assembly formally recognized having safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as human rights, so how have things changed since then?

The good news is things are changing (even if you feel like they aren’t). Access to basic facilities is improving around the globe as 91% of the world’s population now has safe water (up from 76% in 1990). 

But right now, the problem is that progress is stalling for people living in the poorest areas of the world. They are in danger of being left behind.  

People like Edina from Chisamba, Zambia, who still spends most of her day walking to collect water. 

In Sub-Saharan Africa women like Edina walk on average 6km a day to collect water

The nearest working water point is a 12 km round trip for Edina. Instead she relies on unprotected sources nearer her home.  She can’t stop livestock from drinking the water, and without safe toilets or waste disposal it is badly contaminated, particularly during the rainy season. 

The unprotected source Edina uses daily

Dirty water and poor sanitation rob Edina of her health, her time and her freedom. She has little opportunity to grow vegetables on her land or earn a wage which would help her pay for food, healthcare, her children’s education or do anything else she might like to with her life. 

Everyone, no matter where they live or what their income in, has the same basic rights of water and sanitation so they can protect themselves from disease, learn, earn and have a voice in their community. 

So, how far have we come ten years since The UN explicitly recognised water and sanitation as human rights?  

We’ve helped over 490,000 people change their lives for good – and we’ll be helping Edina next.