Like clean air, most of us living in developed countries take the availability of clean water for granted. However, almost half of the developing world’s population – 2.5 billion people – lack improved sanitation facilities, and over 884 million people still use unsafe drinking water sources. (Source: UNICEF) Poor water, sanitation, and hygiene have many serious repercussions. Children- and particularly girls-can’t attend schools because their schools lack private and decent sanitation facilities. Women are forced to spend large parts of their day fetching water, leaving children unattended in homes. And 3.5 million people die each year (three million of whom are children) because of water-borne diseases. (Source: World Water Relief)
Scope of Research
Almost all experts I interviewed spoke about water, sanitation, and hygiene hand-in-hand, also known as the “WASH approach,” so we are including those three components in the scope of our research. (Thank you to those of you who offered your time and expertise to help define the scope of this research!) Water, sanitation, and hygiene are important to think about in terms of household behavior and health because disease isn’t spread only by drinking contaminated water, but can be spread through home activities involving ones hands, washing clothes, etc. One expert mentioned when water, sanitation, and hygiene are combined, the impact on community health outcomes is three to five times stronger than if these programs didn’t include information to help people understand sanitation and hygiene.
In this research we are asking experts to recommend up to three nonprofits doing high-impact work across multiple countries/regions, and up to three nonprofits doing high-impact work in a specific country/region because we want to be able to highlight both large and smaller scale nonprofits.
- Water: Nonprofits recommended could work in one or more of the following areas: water filtration, provision, well drilling, well rehabilitation, water purification technology, advocacy and policy, and trying to improve water quality and quantity.
- Sanitation: Nonprofits recommended could include all aspects of environmental cleanliness from safe excreta disposal to solid waste management.
- Hygiene: Nonprofits recommended could work on implementation of hygiene promotion activities.
Nonprofits can be focused in direct service, advocacy, litigation, research, education, and other areas.
We will be primarily focusing on populations in need, this can include rural populations, small town populations, urban slum populations, populations dependent on water carrying, and populations that would benefit from improved hygiene behaviors.
So, if you are an expert in nonprofits working in water, sanitation, and hygiene internationally you should have received an email from us with a link to our survey. The survey will be open until the end of October, 2011. We hope you will share your perspective and insights! If for some reason we have missed you and you think you have a valuable perspective to offer, please contact me, Dawn Kwan at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we would love to send the survey to you to include your insights.
Additionally, I’m sure I haven’t been able to capture every nuance in this sector, so I invite your feedback and thoughts about how you might think about this work. For those readers less familiar with this topic, I hope you learned something new and will tune in again when we have the results of this research. Thank you all for your participation!