World Water Week is for “Water for Society – Including All”
Humana People to People will be exhibiting at the World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2019, the week is hosted from 25 to 30 August under the theme “Water for society – Including all”.
The event is an annual focal point for the world’s water challenges. It is organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). The week-long event will see water interested experts, practitioners, decision-makers, innovators and young professionals from a range of sectors and countries meeting in Stockholm to network, exchange ideas, foster new thinking and develop solutions to the most pressing water-related challenges of today. Humana People to People will host an exhibition showcasing its approaches to and achievements in community-led water management initiatives.
Water use has been increasing worldwide by about 1% per year since the 1980s, driven by a combination of population growth, socio-economic development and changing consumption patterns, says the United Nations Water agency. The World Water Development Report 2019 reveals that over 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress, and about 4 billion people are experiencing severe water scarcity at least one month in a year. Stress levels will continue to increase as demand for water grows and the effects of climate change intensify.
Access to safe water and sanitation and sound management of freshwater ecosystems are key to human health and to environmental sustainability. Humana People to People recognises safe drinking water and sanitation as basic human rights, as they are indispensable to sustaining healthy livelihoods and fundamental in maintaining the dignity of all human beings. Through its work, Humana People to People empowers families and communities to effectively manage their water supply with wide-reaching impacts, including addressing key inequalities, challenging harmful gender dynamics and nutrition, maternal and child health in rural settings.
The members of Humana People to People implementing Community Development Programmes and Farmers’ Clubs integrate access to clean water as a key component of, improving community and household sanitation conditions and increasing horticulture productivity among small-scale farmers. Notable transformations were observed in Zimbabwe and Congo were people driven and community focused water and sanitation projects were implemented. In D.R., Congo, an evaluation of a Community Water, Sanitation and hygiene project (CWASH) project showed that more than 85% of households benefiting from the CWASH project have access to improved water sources (taps and boreholes), compared to 17% among non-beneficiary households. Whilst in Zimbabwe a similar project which covered 8,000 families, rehabilitated 237 boreholes, installed 90 water pumps and constructed 350 cattle drinking troughs. The people centered approach has contributed to a 5% reduction in water-borne diseases being noted in the targeted communities.
Increased supply of safe and clean water helped to reduce the distance, time and effort spent in accessing the precious resource, particularly for women as revealed in D.R., Congo. One participant of the D.R. Congo CWASH project, Rose Kapandila Kinkulu, from Kinkulu village of Kasenga territory, Haut-Katanga province of D.R., Congo has this to say, “The new water pump has rescued me from travelling 5 kilometers to fetch water from the river two or three times every day. Having the pump also means I no longer have the pain of carrying a 20 liter bucket on my head for a long period.”
The availability of abundant water is making it possible to establish a thriving horticulture production among the benefitting families, helping to achieve dietary diversity which further contributes to improved nutrition status of the participating communities.
International human rights law obliges states to work towards achieving universal access to water and sanitation for all, without discrimination, while prioritizing those most in need. Fulfilment of the human rights to water and sanitation requires that the services be available, physically accessible, equitably affordable, safe and culturally acceptable.