Water for Women’s Day – more important than flowers!

Dzień Kobiet

On March 8, we celebrate Women’s Day around the world. On this occasion in Poland there will be a sprinkling of tulips, chocolates, wishes. However, there are regions where the best gift would be… access to water. UNICEF estimates that women and girls spend up to 200 million hours every day carrying water to households. This is hard, arduous and dangerous work, the cost of which burdens entire societies. The global Women for Water initiative aims to change the current state of affairs.

Struggle for access to water – hurtful gender inequality

From a report published by the UN in 2023. shows that 2 billion people worldwide lack access to clean and safe drinking water. This dramatic situation hits women in a special way. Not only do they have greater hygienic needs related to physiology, but they are also burdened with the responsibility of obtaining water for their families. In areas affected by prolonged drought, this is a huge challenge and a source of social injustice.

In 70 percent of households without access to water, it is women who have to carry the heavy dishes and canisters. They carry as much as 18-36 kg at a time, covering the same route even several times a day. The average distance is about 6 kilometers, but in the Horn of Africa the trek for water can exceed 17 kilometers. Carrying is done not only by adult women, but also by young girls up to 15 years old, who have to drop out of school for this reason.

Women for Water, or Women for Water

The international coalition Global Water Challenge (GWC), which has set its sights on Sustainable Development Goal 6 (footnote: Clean water and sanitation), has launched the Women for Water platform to fight for the betterment of women. It was based on the important Ripple Effect Study, conducted by the WADA and Ipsos organizations, which examines the role of water as a catalyst for important social and economic change.

A holistic approach to the subject is key. Access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities translates into a marked reduction in the risk of disease in families, improved fertility and reduced levels of gender-based violence. At the same time, women who don’t have to waste time carrying buckets can engage in education and join the workforce. The hours saved also translate into more family and social engagement and essential rest for health.

Women’s Day in the perspective of development programs

The Women for Water platform has a series of ambitious programs in the Americas, Africa and Asia. The Coca-Cola Foundation, in cooperation with GWC’s NewWorld program, for example, has already implemented more than 100 projects in 28 countries around the world. They have provided access to water and sanitation to more than 700,000. people and supported the professional activity of 120,000. women.

Popular actress Zendaya, in coalition with the smartwater brand and GWC, has initiated a grant system for local NGOs fighting for water access and cleanliness, while empowering women economically. The program is being rolled out in many regions of the world, including the United States, where, paradoxically, 2.2 million people have no source of water at home.

In Kenya and Tanzania, countries suffering from chronic water scarcity, GWA has developed partnerships with the Starbucks Foundation and Amref Health Africa. Its goal is to improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene supplies, and to promote the economic role of women in coffee and tea-producing communities. By 2030. The program is expected to reach 1 million women, offering new water connections, water kiosks and business training. Other similar projects involve private brands such as Ford and Hilton, as well as international humanitarian organizations.

We can celebrate this year’s Women’s Day in a less traditional but more meaningful way. Every donation to initiatives such as Women for Water or similar helps support programs that make a scenario a reality, where girls and women will be able to study and work instead of risking their lives and health while trekking for water.

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