March 2020 is Rotary's Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Month

When people, especially children, have access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, they lead healthier and more successful lives. We don’t just build wells and walk away. Rotary members integrate water, sanitation, and hygiene into education projects. When children learn about disease transmission and practice good hygiene, they miss less school. And they can take those lessons home to their families, expanding our impact.

Clean water is a basic human right that many are often denied. There are 2.5 billion people in the world that lack access to improved sanitation and 748 million people that don’t have clean drinking water. When people have access to clean water, they live healthier and more productive lives.

In 2015, the United Nations introduced their new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty and promote prosperity while protecting the environment and addressing climate change. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 on water and sanitation encourages us to address universal access to drinking water and sanitation along with improved water management to protect ecosystems and build resiliency.

WASH is an acronym that refers to the global development issues of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. Due to their interdependent nature, these three core issues are grouped together to represent a growing sector. While each a separate field of work, they are also interdependent on the presence of the other and represent a current global crisis.

Water: 663 million people do not use an improved drinking water source, most of whom are poor and live in rural areas.

Sanitation: 2.4 billion people still lack an improved facility, and among them 950 million people still practice open defecation.

Hygiene: Of the range of hygiene behaviors considered important for health, hand washing with soap is a top priority in all settings.

At least 3000 children die every day from diarrhea diseases – an avoidable consequence of poor water, sanitation and hygiene.