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Providing access to clean, safe, and reliable water transforms lives

Water Scarcity

Women Impacted Most by Lack of Water

Water and extreme poverty are inextricably linked because lack of safe water and poverty are mutually reinforcing. Currently, millions of people live without access to safe water and 2.5 billion live without adequate sanitation.

Access to consistent sources of clean water is crucial to poverty reduction.


Women bear the heaviest burden when there is no safe water and sanitation. In most places that lack these resources, women, and children are responsible for retrieving water for their families, often spending several hours each day traveling and waiting at a water point. This often puts them at risk of assault and injury. The women and girls often stay home from work and school to care for family members that are sick with water-related diseases.


Girls miss school when there is no latrine to give them a private place to take care of their hygiene needs during menstruation. They are more vulnerable to infections when they have to wait until dark to use the bathroom, which often means defecation in a field or forest. This further leads to the spread of waterborne disease as they do most of the cooking and cleaning for the family.




A structure in a medical compound in the Nuba mountains damaged by a bomb dropped on their location.​

Vulnerability in Disaster

Communities affected by a disaster, either natural or man-made, are more resilient if they have access to safe water and sanitation. Communities with safe water have healthier members, whose bodies are more resistant to illnesses that come with disaster and displacement.


Safe water points can be life-savers in times of displacement when people, usually the poor, must travel long distance over long periods. Sanitation facilities among displaced people are necessary to avoid the spread of disease, especially to weakened or injured people. When clean drinking water, latrines or toilets, and good hygiene practices are present, people can recover from a disaster more quickly.


Population tensions, violence, corruption and health problems, do individually or in combination create a very challenging or unsafe environment for water collection, such that individuals or households struggle to obtain sufficient water to meet their needs. Distance to a water source, the frequency of trips, terrain, and climate in which water fetching is performed also influence the level of difficulty that households face in accessing water.

Gender-based Violence

The daily violence undermines development and safety of people living in poor communities. In the absence of effective law enforcement, women and children collecting water from an out of the home source, or forced to defecate in the open, are not safe in many communities. There are horrific examples of girls being raped and murdered while looking for toilets after dark. 


Poorly constructed and maintained facilities lead to a regular breakdown of supply systems with prolonged repair times. Unreliable water supplies increase the work of water carriage—people may need to access more distant sources, revert to alternative sources such as surface water, or transport as much water as possible during periods of limited availability. It can mean that ability to plan, pace and organize the work of water carriage is compromised, adding to the distress associated with household water insecurity. 

Water and Health

There is growing evidence that regularly carrying heavy loads on the head, typical of water carriage in Sub-Saharan Africa, is associated with musculoskeletal pain and disability. The aftermath of infectious disease epidemics, conflict or natural disaster may mean that children or the elderly in poor families bear the burden of collecting water for household use, and it is clear that the very young and the elderly have reduced capacity for such physical work.

The outbreak of war tragically demonstrated this where children lost their primary caregiver forcing teenagers to provide for their siblings and take on household responsibilities since being orphaned.


Typhoid fever, cholera, and many other diseases still run rampant in the Nuba Mountains. 

Infants and young children are especially susceptible to diseases because their immune systems are experiencing everything for the first time.  Fuel for the fire is quite expensive and mothers can't afford to boil water and cook food.​

Poor Health and Productivity

Injury, disability, age or long-term health conditions may further compromise an individual’s capacity to physically collect enough water.

Poor health leads to poor productivity.

The sickness caused by dirty water saps people's energy to do much of anything. If you've ever had food poisoning, you know how horrible it can be. Students who suffer from waterborne illness can't stay in class. They miss out on the chance to learn and the cycle of poverty continues. That and when one person is sick, someone else has to take care of them, which means that the second person can't work either.


If the sick person needs medicine, that money can't be used for other things, like food or school supplies.

 With few medical resources at their disposal, the poor are particularly vulnerable to chronic illnesses that hinder their productivity, making the escape from poverty even more difficult.


Providing Acess to Water

The cycle of water and poverty continue where women must endure inequalities where they are often excluded from productive or income-earning labor. When women have access to a nearby source of clean drinking water, a toilet or latrine, and knowledge about good hygiene practices like handwashing, they and their families thrive.


They can use the time saved to work in home-based businesses and agriculture as well as employment outside the home. More girls can attend school, and for longer. They can break the cycle of poverty and water-borne disease.


We're working with local communities to provide access to safe water at schools and where children live. A water project, like a new well, can transform a child's life as it unlocks potential by helping kids stay healthy to pursue education.


Women are closely connected and mostly affected by lack of water and sanitation and we, therefore, make their involvement in solving this problem non-negotiable. Water empowered women to empower their communities.

Get Involved

Your support provides opportunities for vulnerable women and young people in war zones and other vulnerable victims of injustice to access clean water as well as hygiene and sanitation programs. 


Join our community by making a one-time donation or, give monthly, or quarterly, or yearly and transform lives of survivors of war and genocide today.


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