World Water Day 2019: Leaving no one behind

March 14, 2019

“Access to water is a common goal. It is central in the social, economic and political affairs of the country, [African] continent and the world. It should be a lead sector of cooperation for world development. No water, no future.”

Quote from Nelson Mandela at the 2002 Earth Summit

On March 22, we recognize World Water Day to raise awareness about water-related issues and call for equal access to life’s most critical resource.

Water is fundamentally important to human survival and inextricably linked with the health of the environment and the economy. Around 4 billion people – nearly two-thirds of the world’s population – experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year. This year’s World Water Day theme is ‘Leaving no one behind’ — an adaptation of the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: as sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit.

The human costs of water scarcity are devastating. Around 1.2 billion people, or almost one-fifth of the world’s population, live in areas of scarcity. Another 1.6 billion people, or almost one quarter of the world’s population, face economic water shortages — when countries lack the necessary infrastructure to take water from rivers and aquifers. Water insecurity poses a significant challenge to agriculture, exacerbating issues of hunger and malnutrition. Water even affects industry and the economy, as nearly all jobs depend on the availability of and access to safe, clean water.

For all these reasons, the global community has committed to achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water by 2030, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) includes a target to ensure availability and sustainable management of water for all by 2030. By definition, this means leaving no one behind. By striving to improve water quality, we increase our ability to achieve SDGs on health, affordable and clean energy, sustainable communities, and the health of our ecosystems both above and below the water.

What We Do

The Hunger Project’s programs support solving water scarcity by empowering rural communities to promote the implementation of water conservation techniques and develop new water resources.

Building Capacity: Establishing water project boards made up of community leaders 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. Across some 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%!

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. In Uganda, we’ve partnered with Siemens Stiftung and The Skyjuice Foundation to deliver safe, clean water to the community through the installation of new water filtration facilities and kiosks.

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 developing 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; waterborne 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.

Join us in calling attention to World Water Day on March 22nd and be part of the movement to make safe, clean water accessible to all!