By Rachel Peck, PWW Intern
This past week in Stockholm, an estimated 2,500 experts, organizations and business innovators all gathered to develop new ideas around one of the most pressing issues the world faces: water sustainability. Presented by Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), a organization that advises policies surrounding water issues, World Water Week is a platform for the exchange of ideas and positive action between public and private communities. This years theme was “Water for Sustainable Growth” and many of the topics discussed were centered around climate change, sanitation, conflict resolution and water management.
While water sustainability was the theme this week, the secondary focus was improving jobs in relation to water, wastewater development and management. Water related jobs was also the focus at this year’s World Water Day in March.
According to The World Bank, in 2012 6.3 million Haitians couldn’t afford the basic necessities and 2.5 million of them were living on less than $1.23 a day. In 2014, six out of 10 households in Honduras were living on less than $2.50 a day, according to The World Bank. Honduras has also been facing a price decline in exported goods, such as bananas and coffee, which is has been devastating to the rural farmers. Those same farmers and their families are among the countries poorest. According to The World Bank, urban areas are improving in socioeconomic and economic status, however, it is only growing the disparity between urban and rural populations.
Through its WASH projects, Pure Water for the World (PWW) has been actively working to improve the tools and education available to many rural and underserved communities across Haiti and Honduras. Many of these communities rely on agriculture as their only source of income. PWW has partnered with more than 200 communities to provide safe water sanitation and hygiene education. This has lead to a decrease in waterborne illnesses and deaths and an overall improved quality of life. This,in turn, increases adult productivity and enables them to provide for their families. Safe water decreases the money spent on hospital visits due to waterborne diseases. When children are happy and healthy, they are able to attend school and gain a precious education. When young girls are taught how to be safe and hygienic during their menstrual cycles, they are less likely to skip school.
All of these factors are steps forward in improving, not just the economic status of those living in rural areas, but also the quality of life. Clean water can do amazing things. It can change the life of a farmer and the lives of his family. It can provide jobs, from increased productivity to jobs in waste management and water sanitation. Clean water is so much more than a necessity; it’s a basic human right. Learn how you can help change the lives of families in Haiti and Honduras.