Access to safe drinking water is a basic survival need, yet even today 2.1 billion people still live without access to safely managed drinking water services.
Many of the rural communities we work with in Africa, Asia and South & Central America lack access to running water in their homes, creating significant risk to their health and negatively impacting their livelihoods in many different ways.
Health – over 80% of disease in developing countries is related to poor drinking water or lack of sanitation and every 90 seconds a child dies of a water-related disease.
Education – over a third of schools lack access to safe water and sanitation and low school attendance in developing countries is often linked to time spent by children collecting water for their families.
Economic opportunities – it is estimated that $260 billion is lost globally each year due to lack of basic water and sanitation. When communities no longer have to invest so much time in harvesting water, it allows them to make the most of work opportunities which can in turn help break the cycle of poverty.
With this in mind, much of our project work around the world focuses on improving access to water.
Over the past 16 years, we have completed a number of large-scale water projects including the construction of a water tower in Cambodia, the repair of a large reservoir dam that serves 10,000 people in Kenya and laying 500 metres of piping as part of a water system in Borneo.
We estimate that we have so far helped to provide fresh clean drinking water to more than 30,000 people worldwide. But our work is not done yet.
Last year, at our Camp Tinangol in Borneo, we launched an ambitious new water project to serve an entire community with free, clean water.
In the village of Tinangol, most families have access to the mains water, which is supplied by the government. However, the tariffs are high and consequently unaffordable for many large families on a low income. Our aim is to construct and install a comprehensive water storage system in the village that will allow silt to be separated from the water, enabling every person to access safe water for free.
With the help of our amazing volunteer teams last year, we successfully installed three water storage tanks that hold 2000 gallons each. They are secure on a concrete base ready to receive water direct from the nearby hills. Currently the community is working on the connecting pipes with the project set to be completed this year.
In other communities, such as the one near our Camp Chilli Urku in the Ecuadorian Amazon, there is no access whatsoever to any running water. However, rainwater is in plentiful supply but at the moment there are no water harvesting or storage facilities in place.
Our water harvesting project aims to build a reservoir above the village, providing them with clean fresh water. The community already has a water pump that can feed from the river to the reservoir, which can then supply the school and nearby houses. In 2017 a series of water tanks were installed at strategic locations within the village, providing a supply of water to new toilets, showers and clothes washing facilities that were constructed by our volunteers. The next phase of this project is to install rainwater harvesting systems into individual homes.
These are just a couple of examples of the 6 water projects we are currently running worldwide. It is thanks to the generosity and dedication of our amazing volunteers that we are able to make such a huge difference to the livelihoods of people living in rural communities like these.
If you’re interested in joining our volunteer teams and helping to make a positive impact, click here to request a brochure.
For more information about our impact on water, sanitation and other vital initiatives, click here to read our Big Project Report.