What are the benefits of safe water supply and sanitation?
It is hard to overstate the benefits. When asked what would improve their lives the most, the majority of people in developing countries prioritise access to clean water.
And for good reason. We know that clean water, along with decent sanitation and hygiene, are very effective in reducing poverty. It can help save lives, drive economic growth, keep kids in school and increase opportunities for women and girls.
In terms of investment, it’s also value for money. The World Health Organisation estimates that meeting the Millennium Development Goal for water and sanitation would bring substantial economic benefit: each $1 invested would create an economic return of between $3 and $34, depending on the region.
And it would improve life for people of all ages.
- From the age of 0 to 4 years, child deaths may be reduced.
- From the age of 5 to 14 years, many more children, especially girls, could go to school if they had adequate drinking water and sanitation facilities. Children would be more likely to escape poverty.
- From the age of 15 to 59 years, workers would have increased productivity thanks to improved health and better facilities.
- People older than 60 could expect to live longer.
What is World Vision doing about these issues?
Since 2009, World Vision Australia has managed 114 water, sanitation and hygiene projects across 35 countries with an investment of $US52 million. Today, World Vision is the largest NGO provider of these programs in the world.
By improving access to safe water, and providing improved sanitation and hygiene education in targeted communities, as well as promoting multiple-use water systems, World Vision expects to see significant changes over a five-year period, including:
- Significant reduction in child deaths and sick days;
- Increase in school attendance, as safe water, latrines, and hand-washing stations become more accessible to children at school;
- Increased incomes through water-related, income-generating activities.