Posted by: Wasrag | September 28, 2010

Start with Water

UNICEF/ HQ06-2187/Georgina Cranston

Access to safe water and adequate sanitation is a strong foundation on which to build community development. Rotarians work in many areas – polio eradication, health care, aids work, micro-finance etc.

If we start with water, sanitation & hygiene, all those other areas of support will have even more impact and effectiveness.

To quote the Feb 9, 2009 article from the BBC News:

“Among people who study human development, it is a widely-held view that each person needs about 20 litres of water each day for the basics – to drink, cook and wash sufficiently to avoid disease transmission.

Yet at the height of the East African drought, people were getting by on less than five litres a day – in some cases, less than one litre a day, enough for just three glasses of drinking water and nothing left over.

Some people, perhaps incredibly from a western vantage point, are hardy enough to survive in these conditions; but it is not a recipe for a society that is healthy and developing enough to break out of poverty.

“Obviously there are many drivers of human development,” says the UN’s Andrew Hudson.

“But water is the most important.”

At the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), where Dr Hudson works as principal technical advisor to the water governance programme, he calculated the contribution that various factors make to the Human Development Index, a measure of how societies are doing socially and economically.

“It was striking. I looked at access to energy, spending on health, spending on education – and by far the strongest driver of the HDI on a global scale was access to water and sanitation.”

The full article is available at:


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