Turning on a tap and having safe running water is only a reality for half of the Indian population. The situation is even worse in rural areas, where about 19,000 villages across the country still do not have regular water supply. Not having access to safe water and sanitation facilities increases the risks of water-borne diseases; and according to recent World Health Organization’s data, 21% of diseases in India are water-related. On top of that, individual improved sanitation systems are only available for about 25% of the population and 40% practice open defecation, leading to major health issues such as diarrheal diseases.
We work with communities and local authorities to improve access to safe water and sanitation facilities including the promoting of good hygiene practices. We strive to ensure that, even in the aftermath a disaster, communities have access to such basic, life saving facilities. As with all our actions, we stop and think twice about the needs of girls and women. For example, at ACTED, we work for gender equality when constructing school and community toilet blocks, building separate spaces for women and girls with appropriate facilities, including water supply and receptacles for discarded sanitary pads.
- Providing access to safe drinking water in schools and public buildings;
- Constructing toilets in schools and community toilet blocks, taking into consideration the specific needs of girls and boys, women and men, as well as people with disabilities;
- Promoting safe hygiene practices amongst school children and their wider communities.