Water and hygiene – basic human rights!

22.03.2015

780 people around the world lack access to safe drinking water. 2.5 billion people lack adequate sanitation facilities. 4 billion people – many of them chil-dren under 5 years of age – suffer from related, often fatal ill-nesses. Effective immediately, OTTO Austria, the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF), the Welthungerhilfe and the Deutsche Inves-titions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) with funds from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development are taking action. Together they are investing EUR 320,000 in order to promote the supply of clean water and sanitation facili-ties in the rural regions of Zimbabwe.

According to the United Nations, most diseases in developing countries are caused by inadequate sanitation facilities and lack of safe drinking water. This is where the project comes into play: “To fight poverty and create op-portunities for sustainable development, we initiated the project for safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities in the CmiA growing regions in Zimbabwe,” explains Alexandra Perschau, project manager at the Aid by Trade Foundation. “On the way to achieving our goal of 100% sustainable cotton by 2020, we support this project in order to do our part to improve living conditions and the economic prospects of the cotton farmers who sustainably produce the raw material, which is of such crucial importance to us,” explains Mag. Georg Glinz, spokesman for OTTO Austria.

Boreholes and sanitation facilities are being built and refurbished in a total of 20 villages in the cotton-producing region of South Gokwe. To ensure that the project has the greatest possible long-term effect in terms of sustainabil-ity, awareness for health-promoting measures is being raised with training courses and campaigns. Committees specially created for the project will make sure that the boreholes are used in a sustainable manner and act as an interface for the local communities. The project training courses and campaigns address nearly 5,000 pupils, who will be trained as “hygiene am-bassadors” and will act as multipliers and share their knowledge with their families.

“For us, mobilizing young people is an important part of this project. This ensures that the local communities will be able to independently use the infrastructure provided to improve health and hygiene once the project is completed”, stresses Michael Hofmann, head of marketing at Welthun-gerhilfe.

An above average number of people in the South Gokwe region are affect-ed by a lack of adequate water supply and sanitation facilities: only 61 per-cent have access to safe water and adequate sanitation facilities are only available to 18 percent of the populace. In Zimbabwe, more than 4,000 chil-dren die as the result of cholera and diarrhea.

Photo: Laschet / Welthungerhilfe