The right to clean water and the freedom to live healthily
It is commonly accepted that access to clean water and sanitation facilities are fundamental human rights. In sub-Saharan Africa, in countries such as Liberia, Zimbabwe and Malawi this right is not at all universal.
- Rural communities risk debilitating disease and death with every sip of water. 780 million people lack access to an improved water source; approximately one in nine people. 
- 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation, that’s nearly half the population of the developing world, and 1.1 billion still practice open defecation.
- More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. Nearly all deaths, 99 percent, occur in the developing world.
- It is estimated that nearly 10% of the global disease burden could be reduced through improved water supply, sanitation, hygiene, and water resource management 
Women, Security and Development
- An estimated 200 million hours are spent each day globally collecting water, and more than 75% of this responsibility falls on women and children.
- This often means that women do not have enough time to work or look after their children and the long journeys of 6km on average can expose them to violence and even animal attack.
- Only the small amounts of water needed for basic necessities can be carried over these long distances, meaning there often isn’t enough water to grow food. This contributes to the fact that there are 239 million people in sub-Saharan Africa who are undernourished.
- A lack of available water also limits agricultural productivity thereby limiting economic development. On average, every 1 US dollar invested in water and sanitation provides an economic return of 8 US dollars.
Children and Education
- Diarrhoea, an illness which is often caused by poor hygiene and sanitation, is the second leading cause of death among children under five in the world. Around 1.5 million deaths each year – nearly one in five – are caused by diarrhea. It kills more children than malaria, AIDS, and measles combined.
- Young children are especially vulnerable to water-borne diseases. 90% of the deaths due to diarrheal diseases are children under 5 years old, mostly in developing countries.
- With levels of disease caused by lack of access to clean and safe water this high, many children struggle to get a good education. 443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related illness.
- Many children cannot attend school for other reasons related to water and sanitation. For example they may need to stay at home to look after sick relatives or tend to crops which are struggling to grow because of a lack of water.
Unless we all combine to eradicate these problems now they’ll only get worse. Populations are growing in rural Africa, further putting strain on resources. Well thought-out, community-supported solutions can arrest this decline and reinstate the right of clean water for all and allow future generations the freedom to live healthy productive lives. Pump Aid is already helping over 7600 communities, over 1 million people, enjoy cleaner safer water. Click here to discover how.
 World Health Organisation (WHO)/ United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) (2010)
 WHO (2008)
 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (2006)
 UN Water (2009)
 Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN (2010)
 WHO/UNICEF (2009)
 UN Water (2008)