On March 22, we observe World Water Day and focus on the importance of clean water for all creation.

Last year, your support for PWS&D’s water, sanitation and hygiene project in Malawi improved access to safe, fresh water in 10 villages.

Almost 2,000 people benefited from new wells and water points and 660 families used proper latrines. In addition, 580 hand washing facilities and 600 latrine covers were constructed.

In Ghana, new latrines and hand washing facilities benefited women accused of witchcraft living at the Gambaga Outcast Home, as well as surrounding community members.

The implications of clean water on people’s everyday lives are far-reaching.

 Here are 10 ways clean water and sanitation help communities thrive: 

  1. A young woman uses a hand-washing station outside a latrine in Malawi. Photo: Paul Jeffrey

    Disease reduction: Diseases such as cholera and diarrhea are caused by contact with dirty water. Proper toilets and hygiene practices help ensure water stays clean and communities stay healthy.

  1. Gender equality: Women become further excluded from productive, income-earning labour and other opportunities when there is no safe water. They are often the ones taking time to fetch water or staying home to care for sick family members.
  1. Access to education: When children are sick, they can’t attend school. Some girls don’t finish school because washroom facilities are non-existent or in poor condition and they can’t take care of hygiene needs during menstruation.
  1. Economic growth: People can spend more time on income-generating activities when they aren’t suffering from waterborne disease or travelling far distances to collect water.
  1. Productive farms: Access to water improves irrigation systems and helps increase food production.
  1. Community cooperation and security: In some situations where clean water is scarce, communities could become vulnerable to corruption—immoral action taken by an individual or group to ensure exclusive access to or control over water sources.
  1. Less hunger: Farmers can spend more time growing food to feed their families when they aren’t sick.
  1. Environmental sustainability: Keeping water clean can preserve water ecosystems and their biodiversity and help combat climate change.
  1. Protection of women and girls: While walking long distances to fetch water or find a place “to go,” women and girls risk being assaulted or attacked.
  1. Reduced vulnerability during disaster: In times of disaster and displacement, safe water points are critical and sanitation facilities help prevent the spread of disease. Healthier communities can bounce back faster from loss or trauma.

Thank you for your support!