Author: wateraid

WaterAid

Finding Perspective on World Water Day

Post Written by Jennifer Iacovelli Three weeks after I realized my marriage was ending, I traveled to Nicaragua with WaterAid on an insight trip representing Mom Bloggers for Social Good. We visited the most remote areas of the country to see the work that WaterAid was doing with communities lacking clean water access and basic sanitation. It was a life-changing experience that allowed me to gain a tremendous amount of perspective. I met women and teens who were trained by WaterAid to build wells and toilets for their communities. These were women whose husbands were typically away during the week working in the city, and teen girls who missed a tremendous amount of school, if they went at all, because of their household responsibilities. Fetching water from the river took up valuable time that they could have used to work or go to school. The training allowed them to not only gain valuable skills and earn money, but it also empowered them to become leaders in their community. A few of the women even got …

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SDG 6: The secret to unlocking opportunity? Clean water and toilets

By Carolynne Wheeler, WaterAid As a 21 year old woman in rural Nigeria, Kadoon Tilenen faces a difficult choice each time she feels the urge to relieve herself. When you’re pregnant, that urge comes even more often – and when the only toilet is a rudimentary pit latrine shared by your husband, small child and large extended family, sometimes the only option is to head for the field instead. But doing so is uncomfortable and risks her health. “It feels very uncomfortable but sometimes I have no choice. In my condition, my stomach hurts me sometimes when I am in the bush bending and the grasses help to cover,” she said. “At night, I am afraid so I don’t go very far from the house. There are thorns that prick and sticks that injure me. Defecating in the bush disgusts me and makes me vomit a lot, especially in my pregnant state.” Kadoon is one of nearly 1 billion people in the world who have no choice but to relieve themselves in the open. She understands that …

Solo and Ze celebrate clean water arriving in their village; WaterAid / Ernest Randriarimalala

World Water Day: Clean Water is Only the Beginning

Written by Suzy Vickers, Public Relations Manager, WaterAid ​This morning 13-year-old Ze got up and went to school. This might not sound very remarkable, 13-year-olds girls go to school all the time, don’t they? For Ze, this was a truly momentous day. I met Ze a year ago in her remote village of Antohobe in Madagascar. Perched a mile up in the highlands, our Landover lurched from side to side as we climbed the steep dirt tracks to her home. I could see why the village name means ‘a place with a view’. When I arrived I was immediately struck by two young girls – Solo and Ze. Bright, chatty and confident, these best friends were eager to show me where they lived. They had few belongings, just one toy between them, a cherished doll they delighted in playing with. Their home was a simple two story building, with livestock kept on the first floor. Conversation took a more somber tone when they explained their daily chores to me. These young teenage girls had to worry …

Absenteeism among girls at Kasasa School in Kampala has dropped since a menstrual hygiene program was introduced. Photo c/o Lynn Johnson, Ripple Effect Images

Getting Personal About Periods in Uganda

By Libby Plumb, Senior Communications Advisor, WaterAid America Relaxed and talkative, a group of 15 or so girls from Kasasa Primary School in Kampala, Uganda, showed no embarassment when their teacher introduced me as someone who’d like to talk to them about their school’s menstrual hygiene program. I think back to my own early teen years and imagine the mortified silence that would have fallen if someone had asked my classmates and me about our periods: it was something we dealt with, but not something we felt comfortable discussing openly. The Kasasa girls—all between the ages of 11 and 14—shrugged off the notion of this being a taboo topic. “It’s not bad to talk about periods, it’s normal.” I wasn’t surprised by their openness. I’d just visited another classroom in the school where I had watched rehearsals for an inter-school drama and public speaking contest about sanitation that was organized by the international development organization WaterAid, and one of its local partners. I was impressed at how unphased a young female student was by delivering …

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What do you mean, women aren’t equal?

By Alanna Imbach, WaterAid America After an hour of banging my head against the roof of our silver SUV with every jolting bump of the dusty red dirt highway leading from Bilwi, Nicaragua to the capital city of Managua, I was more than ready to abandon the car when we arrived yesterday at the home of Don Sabino and Doña Yolanda. Nestled atop a hill overlooking miles of lush green forests, there was only one other house within sight. Yet Doña Yolanda’s yard was filled with people. 12 of them, to be exact: all hard at work drilling holes in drainage pipes, digging ditches and clearing space for the new toilet that they were learning how to install as part of their first day of water and sanitation job skills training with the international non-profit, WaterAid. I came to Nicaragua with WaterAid this week in part to observe World Water Day the way that it was meant to be observed—through the eyes of some of the nearly 800 million people who live without access to water …

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What Congress did for Women

By Lisa Schechtman, Director of Policy & Advocacy at WaterAid America Early in the new year, Congress made a bold move: it passed a spending bill for fiscal year 2014 that reversed many of the deep across-the-board cuts it imposed in recent years. This is good news in many ways. It indicates renewed energy for working together for the good of the country. This should surely benefit the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act, which advances US National Security,  US moral authority worldwide, and women’s health and wellbeing along with countless other issues. It also allows USAID, the State Department, and many other Federal Agencies to move beyond survival mode and take steps to do more efficient and effective work. At USAID, it has another implication as well. This appropriations bill included the largest-ever allocation for international safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs.  As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, I thought it was a good time to also celebrate the impact that this new support of WASH could have …

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The Women I Can’t Wait to Meet

Written by Alanna Imbach, Media & Communications Officer, WaterAid America In a few short days, I will be heading to a country as rich in beauty as it is in possibility. And like so many other places in the world, much of that possibility lies in the hands of the women and girls who live there. For months, I’ve been reading reports about the women that my organization, WaterAid, has been supporting in one of the poorest, hardest to reach and most diverse parts of Nicaragua. From what I can tell, these women aren’t just out to change the world: they’re doing it. Take, for example, a group of women in Auhya Pihni. Not only did they learn how to install and maintain simple water pumps, drill borehole wells and install eco-toilets through WaterAid’s skills training program, but they’ve turned their newly honed skills right around, using them to train and subcontract their spouses and siblings to help them carry out maintenance and installation work, too. In the blink of an eye, they have become …

Photo Courtesy: WaterAid/ Andrew Esiebo

The burden of collecting water while pregnant

Written by Libby Plumb, Senior Communications Advisor, WaterAid America Working in the international development sector, I am surrounded by smart, passionate people: people who believe that we can end poverty—and that it starts with access to clean water and toilets for women and girls. As a mother of two healthy kids, I know that having kids is hard work. What mom doesn’t feel like she has the weight of the world on her shoulders 24/7? For millions of mothers in the developing world, though, that weight is far more than metaphoric. For them, the threat of maternal mortality is real, good health can be hard to achieve, and the need  to walk for miles in search of water and to carry their heavy water containers home a constant one—pregnant or not. When my son was a little over a year old, I was fortunate to visit WaterAid’s water, sanitation and hygiene programs in northern Ghana. As a new mom missing my own child, I was the first to coo over all the babies. But what …

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#GivingTuesday: Already A Favorite Holiday Tradition

This week, as families across the United States sit down to their Thanksgiving meals, many pause to think of those less fortunate than themselves.  People like the millions of women and girls worldwide who do not have the luxury of being able to take a day off to celebrate with their families. As those responsible for collecting water for their families, many women and girls in developing countries spend every day of the year searching for water, a task that can involve walking for miles carrying heavy water containers weighing 40lb, for up to six hours a day. There’s no day off for Thanksgiving. Black Friday’s department store sales are unheard of. The online shopping frenzy of Cyber Monday? An even more alien concept. For many girls in developing countries, even school comes second to water collection. What good is education compared to the family’s survival? Water comes first. The contrast between living without life’s most basic needs and sitting down to the traditional Thanksgiving fare of roast turkey and all the trimming is a …