Washing Away Poverty

Leveraging Water, Sanitation and Hygiene as a tool for the advancement of disadvantaged populations in the developing world

Universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is critical to the advancement of the developing world. These three issues are always linked – for example, without toilets you can’t have clean water, and without clean water you can’t have basic hygiene. Globally, some 2.4 billion people are unable to access improved sanitation, while more than 660 million do not have a reliable source of clean water. This has a staggering cost: It is estimated that a lack of clean water and sanitation is associated with 2,300 deaths every day from diarrhea, many of them children. WASH issues also disproportionately affect women and girls around the world. However, when people have access to clean water, proper sanitation and hygiene, they not only have better overall health and live longer lives, they also do better at school, gender equality is improved, and more economic development takes place, according to those working in the sector.

News Deeply’s Washing Away Poverty series looks at some of the root causes and the innovative WASH solutions being carried out across the developing world. We examine how communities are organizing for change and what more needs to be done: For example, how women are banding together to address clean-water challenges in rural India and how menstrual stigma keeps women out of the workforce in India. We also explore how technological innovations are helping drive access to clean water and hear from a leading African changemaker on how the availability of water can alter everything for rural Kenyan women.

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The Indian Women Campaigning for Clean Water

A campaign started by the women of Beechaganahalli village in Karnataka, India, has transformed lives. Their efforts resulted in the building of a treatment plant to remove arsenic and fluoride from local groundwater – and now local people have clean water to drink.

The Ugandan Sanitary Pad Factory Keeping Girls in School

A factory in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, is helping keep girls in school by producing cheap, reusable sanitary pads. By teaming up with NGOs, they’ve been able to distribute them to thousands of girls.