The lack of clean water is silently killing one child every single minute. The statistics are truly shocking: nearly 800 million people have no access to clean water, while a woman in Africa walks an average of 6km a day to fetch clean water.
The problem is getting worse as climate change causes more and more droughts, leaving large areas of land dry and arid.
Islamic Relief believes in giving water for life. When we build a water system, we want to ensure that after we leave, the locals never need to ask for help accessing water again.
That’s why we take acarefully tailored approachin each area. In some areas there is no groundwater, so digging a well won’t work – we build a system which catches rainwater instead. In countries which have wet, rainy seasons followed by long, dry periods, we construct micro-dams and reservoirs to store the water safely for use all year round. And to save women and children the difficult physical task of pumping water by hand, we harness natural energy with solar-powered wells.
It isn’t just about building systems – it’s about building people too. Five years ago, more than 50,000 water points across Africa had failed, because no-one taught the communities how to maintain and repair them when they broke. We train local people to take care of their new systems, as well as teaching them how to use water safely to improve health and hygiene, so that when we leave, they have truly been given water for life.