Water and Sanitation
Water is essential. It is used not only for drinking but for bathing, cooking, cleaning, waste disposal, and agriculture. Yet, 884 million people around the world do not have adequate access to it. In developing countries, even when water is accessible, it may not be clean. Because of this, 5,000 children a day die from waterborne diseases. What’s more, 2.5 billion people around the world lack basic sanitation.
UMCOR’s Water and Sanitation program is helping vulnerable communities gain better access to clean water by locating safe water sources, educating communities, and improving sanitation.
UMCOR helps communities rehabilitate existing water infrastructure or build wells from scratch. Locating reliable water sources can take months or even years. Once a source is determined, we distribute household water filtration units and provide training on their proper use and maintenance. UMCOR-supported water and sanitation projects in a dozen countries are helping thousands of people access safe water to meet their day-to-day needs.
Forming a Community Development Committee (CDC) is just as important as digging a well in a place where water is scarce. Through CDCs, UMCOR helps communities take ownership of their water systems and build strategies and solutions around their long-term water supply. We also teach community members how to maintain their water systems and care for them over time. And we also focus education efforts on the development of good hygiene practices.
About 80 percent of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions. In developing countries, diarrhea kills 2.2 million people each year. UMCOR builds latrines and hand-washing stations so that people can live healthier lives. We always couple these efforts with education about how to prevent the spread of disease.