Better Water, Better Jobs: World Water Day 2016

March 17, 2016

March 22nd is World Water Day, a day to learn more about water-related issues and inspire people around the globe to take action and make a difference.

Water is fundamental to human survival, the environment and the economy. Indeed, almost half of the world’s 1.5 billion workers work in water-related sectors, and nearly all jobs depend on water and those that ensure its safe delivery. Yet, millions of people who work in water are often not recognized or protected by basic labor rights. As such, the theme of this year’s World Water Day is “Water and Jobs,” which aims to highlight how the quantity and quality of water can change workers’ lives and livelihoods –and even transform societies and economies.

Access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) at home and in the workplace not only enables a healthy population and a productive workforce—it is one of the most fundamental human rights. Yet, water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation negatively impact food security, livelihood choices and educational opportunities for poor families across the world. Drought afflicts some of the world’s poorest countries, worsening hunger and malnutrition. That’s why the global community has aimed to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water by 2030 for all as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Hunger Project’s programs support clean water and improved sanitation by empowering rural communities to develop new water resources and promote the implementation of water conservation techniques. Across eight of our high performing epicenters in Africa for example, households with improved drinking water increased by 67% on average; and households with a sanitation facility increased by 589%!

Here’s what we do to improve water and sanitation in our program countries:

  • Building Capacity: Establishing water project boards made up of community leaders who are trained by experts on how to monitor, maintain and repair water systems; training people in the use and repair of water pumps and generators; and training a core of local leaders in water safety and purification so they can lead workshops throughout the community and expand grassroots knowledge.
  • Developing New Sustainable Water Sources: Empowering local communities to drill new wells and boreholes and repair existing ones; build and repair water towers; and construct water troughs for livestock.
  • Ensuring a Reliable Supply of Clean Water: Providing equipment and training for testing and pumping water; empowering communities to build and repair latrines in homes, schools and public spaces; and lobbying local governments to devote public resources to water infrastructure projects.
  • Implementing Water Conservation Techniques: Mobilizing communities to initiate drip irrigation projects, which minimize the use of water and fertilizer by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, and to develop water catchment systems, which collect rainwater from a roof or other surface before it reaches the ground and store it for future use. Check out this video from The Hunger Project-Mexico on their rainwater harvesting program.
  • Sanitation Programs: Good hygiene is more than a convenience; water-borne illness is a leading cause of childhood deaths around the world. The Hunger Project trainings and capacity building projects improve living conditions and save lives.

What You Can Do:

Every year, tens of thousands of people get involved in World Water Day. Below are some examples of activities:*

  • Make your voice heard on social media by sending a selfie or a groupie of how water is part of your daily job
  • Tell us how water has changed your—or the people in your community’s—life
  • Think about what water means to you and make an art work
  • Organize a debate in your school, university, community, office or organization
  • Record a film and send it to us
  • Organize a photo contest

Join us in celebrating World Water Day on March 22nd and show your support in making clean water accessible to all!

*Adapted from UN Water