The importance of clean drinking water cannot be overstated when it comes to preventing infection, illness and death in developing countries. Despite the vast resources available to people in developed countries, the startling fact remains that nearly 1 billion people in developing countries worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water.
This is especially true in Africa, where millions of people, usually women and girls, walk miles every day to collect water for their families. It takes so long to collect the water that they often do not have time for anything else in the day, meaning that girls especially miss out on education, further trapping them into a cycle of poverty. When they finally do collect the water, the only source is often streams and ponds containing dirty, contaminated water. Animals often use the same water to drink and wash in, meaning that the water is full of disease. However, when faced with dehydration or dirty water, many will take the risk and drink.
What can be done?
Unfortunately, a lack of water goes further than leading to life-threatening dehydration. Little to no water means that crops will not grow, resulting in malnutrition. This in turn leads to weakened immune systems, making the environment ripe for infection and disease.
When faced with this, many do take the risk and drink contaminated water. However, this often leads to consequences that are just as severe, with many children dying from the illnesses they contract as a result of drinking dirty water.
To make matters worse, there is an easy solution that can stop people being forced to drink dirty water or face life-threatening dehydration. Charities such as Plan are constantly involved in long-lasting water projects, providing communities with safe, clean water for relatively little money.
Projects such as these include the development of wells, dams and rain catchment systems, which provide clean water that is safe to drink. As the source of this water is located within the community, it also means that women and girls do not have to walk miles every day, sacrificing their education for their water supply. Plan are also ensuring that this water remains clean and safe for future generations to enjoy by teaching the local community about water hygiene.
What can you do?
Although these projects are inexpensive to set up and maintain, charities such as Plan UK still rely on donations from generous people in order to sustain these projects. No amount of money is too small, and every donation makes a difference. You can help save millions of lives today by taking one simple step. Contact Plan UK today and see how you can be involved in their child sponsorship campaign, to help take a child out of poverty and sickness and provide them with a safe and healthy environment. Visit http://www.plan-uk.org.