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Marking World Water Day 2019

22 March 2019

We believe in a world where everyone has access to clean and safe drinking water.

Water project in Somalia

A child drinking tap water at the distribution base in Kabasa displacement camp, Somalia. Photo: Allan Gichigi.

Millions of people around the world have a lack of access to safe drinking water. Particularly in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, the people of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe are at risk of contracting illnesses through dirty drinking water and a major focus of Trócaire's relief efforts will be providing access to safe, clean water.

Safe water is one of the most challenging global issues: 

  • 2.1 billion people live without safe water at home. 
  • Around 4 billion people – nearly two-thirds of the world’s population – experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year.  
  • More than 700 children under five years of age die every day from diarrhoea linked to unsafe water and poor sanitation. 
  • Women and girls are responsible for water collection in eight out of ten households with water off-premises 

In 2010, the UN recognised “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life”.   

Water pump project

Mariatu Kamara is a 43-year-old farmer living in in north-western Sierra Leone. Photo : Andrea Sciorato

"We have been struggling all our lives with poor water provision” 

Mariatu operates a hand-pump from in her village, and life-giving water flows from this new well. 

Mariatu collects the water, and she will bring it back a short distance to her home. She will use the water for her daily farming activities, for washing clothes and for providing safe drinking water for her family. 

It wasn't always as easy.

Mariatu Kamar, 43, lives with her husband and children, aged from 3 to 8 years, at the far end of her village. Mariatu has had a challenging life. She lost her first husband, and despite remarrying, she is often alone farming and caring for the family while her husband is out of the village for work.

Clean and safe water is essential for Mariatu and her family to survive. Yet Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world, having been devastated by civil war and the ebola crisis. As a result, access to safe water and sanitation is a challenge across the country. 

Water pump well in Sierra Leone

Mariatu operates the new well in her village. Photo : Andrea Sciorato

“Getting water has not always been this easy”, Mariatu says, “With my family, we have been struggling all our lives with poor water provision.” 

Before the well was constructed, the closest water point was a swamp located one mile away from the village. The water from the swamp was not clean, and carrying that water to her home was almost impossible for Mariatu. 

“This situation affected every aspect of our family life. Not only primary needs such as drinking or cooking, but also the possibility to give my children clean school uniforms”.

MY water supply has tripled

Only a few metres away from her home is the recently-built community well. Mariatu has been able to triple the amount of water available for her family thanks to the new well, constructed by Trócaire's local partner organisation KADDRO.  

Mariatu is now able to collect water from the hand-pump by herself. She saves time and money which she can now invest in increasing her income from her farming activities.

“As a woman, I feel safer now, having the well so close to my house and not having to walk long distances to collect water”.

Our work across the world to support families like Mariatu's wouldn't be possible without your generous support. Thank you for continuing to support us and we hope you will consider donating to our 2019 Lent appeal

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