By Tokunbo Kujore, Impact Analyst and Founder, Afro Girls
We were told to do three very basic things to combat COVID-19; practice social-distancing, wear a mask and wash your hands. Seems simple enough, but 2 Billion people, mostly living in rural areas, around the world live without adequate sanitation, making them vulnerable to exposure of the virus.
Here are the facts (pre-pandemic):
Globally, 2.2 billion people lack safe drinking water
Two out of five people do not have a basic hand-washing facility with soap and water, more than 673 million people still practice open defecation.
More than 80 per cent of wastewater resulting from human activities is discharged into rivers or sea without any pollution removal
In many countries, Women and girls are responsible for water collection in 80 per cent of households without access to water on premises.
SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation, ensures availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030. In 2018, The UN General Assembly launched the Water Action Decade, a 10 year commitment to mobilize action that will help transform how we manage water. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the importance of achieving this goal now more than ever before.
Learners are also affected by the access to clean water. Education is critical for breaking the cycle of poverty and yet over half of the world's schools lack access to safe water and sanitation facilities. In Africa, one in four primary schools have no drinking water service, with pupils using unprotected sources or going thirsty. Lack of clean water has serious effects on students' academic performance and attendance rates as well.
If we have 8 years to transform how we manage water, can we achieve the targets of Goal 6 by 2030?
Substantial progress has been made towards achieving SDG 6, but there’s so much to be done. I believe that organizations who are focused on providing access to clean water, proper sanitation facilities, education on good hygiene practices, reducing the spread of pathogens and preventing infections are key to achieve this goal. A couple of these organizations that come to mind are Face Africa, Charity Water, UN Water, Water, Just, WaterAid, Global Citizen, Voss Foundation and Thirst Project.
In my opinion, investing in the organizations that are doing the groundwork to be the best way to achieve this goal.
Check out more posts in the SDGs in 20/20 series here.