This past Saturday was World Water Day, a day to raise awareness of water problems and the issues around water. According to the United Nations, “in 2014, the UN System-working closely with its Member States and other relevant stakeholders-is collectively bringing its attention to the water-energy nexus, particularly addressing inequalities, especially for the “bottom billion” who live in slums and impoverished rural areas and survive without access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, sufficient food and energy services”. As Americans, we often take the blessing of water for granted. We are incredibly fortunate to have access to clean water sources as this is often not the case in many parts of the world.
Water is also a problem that is inter-linked with gender issues. Women and girls are often responsible for water collection in rural areas where water is scarce. Since girls often have to walk far distances to receive water, they are taken out of school and away from their studies. Mothers are affected by water issues as they often can not care for their families while they are traveling to receive clean water. Furthermore, unclean water and poor sanitation leads to the spread of diseases and increasing to child mortality in many parts of the developing world. World Vision’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Program (WASH) works to give communities safe water sources to reduce the distances traveled by women and girls collecting water and decrease the susceptibility of pregnant women and young girls to waterborne diseases. Continue to spread awareness of water issues and how these problems particularly affect women and girls. Those of us who are fortunate to have access to clean and accessible water must support others who do not have this privilege.