United Methodist Committee on Relief

Water is Hope

“Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth . . . these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security, and women's empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all” 

—Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General for the United Nations 2007–2016 

Water is essential to life, and access to it greatly affects the quality of life for millions. Access to safe drinking water makes the difference between which child stays in school and which child is unable to attend because of waterborne illnesses. Girls are more likely to attend school when they do not have to walk long distances to get water for their families. Contaminated water can transmit diseases such diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio. Contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause 502,000 diarrheal deaths each year. A child who has had repeated bouts of diarrhea is more likely to develop malnutrition, which in turn makes the child more prone to other diseases. Although handwashing has been shown to reduce the rates of diarrhea by as much as 40 percent, in places where diarrhea is most rampant, access to water for hand washing is often limited.

Photo by Mike DuBose

It is surprising that as important as water is to survival, more than 700 million people do not have access to clean, safe water—that's the equivalent of one in nine people globally. About 66 percent of Africa is arid or semi-arid, and more than 300 million of the 800 million people in sub-Saharan Africa live in a water-scarce environment. Disasters, climate change, water pollution, and rapid population growth are additional factors contributing to water crisis in many countries.

Without water, you cannot grow food or build housing, you can’t stay healthy, you can’t stay in school, or hold a job. In recognition of the significant role water plays in improving health, empowering women, alleviating suffering, and lifting communities out of poverty, the General Board of Global Ministries’ Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Program supports faith-based partners around the world to increase access to safe water. The WASH program is a cooperation between the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and the Global Health Unit of Global Ministries, and is a vital component of the Abundant Health Initiative to decrease child morbidity and mortality in low-resource settings.

In 2016, the WASH program reached 55,297 people in 13 countries with water and sanitation interventions. This includes 12 new wells built, 30 hand pumps installed/rehabilitated, 163 households provided with point of use filtration systems, 269 grey water filtration systems supplied, 2,245 households provided with safe water storage facilities and 46 irrigation systems installed.

Your gifts to the UMCOR WASH Advance #3020600 supports this work