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Water - the source of health and hope

Water - the source of health and hope

Water - the source of health and hope

Water, sanitation and hygiene programs are changing the health outcomes, lives, and futures of communities across Southern Africa.

In 1998, a possible contamination of Sydney’s drinking water caused widespread alarm and three million people were advised to boil their drinking water.

Yet, 2.1 billion people around the world (or three in every 10 people) live with unsafe water every day. Six in 10, or 4.5 billion, lack safely managed sanitation. Clean water is the foundation of good health. Without good health, productive lives become difficult to achieve.

The Salvation Army WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) programs, funded by our water and health sponsors and our priority sponsors, and run in conjunction with local partners, are successfully helping communities across Kenya, Malawi and South Africa improve their health and start planning for better futures.

Waterborne illnesses derail education

At Mikoikoni Deb Primary School, Kenya, head teacher David Mwangi says, “Having water for cooking, let alone drinking, was a big challenge. We used to borrow 20-litre jerry cans from our neighbour. The water that pupils drew from the water source outside the school was yellowish in colour and waterborne diseases were a common thing. But now we rarely hear of such challenges because we have enough water for cooking, drinking and cleaning latrines, classrooms, offices and watering of seedlings.”

Victor Muuo, a student at Kyemwole Primary School, was taken to hospital regularly due to waterborne stomach problems. He says, “Now my tummy has stabilised. I also used to miss classes while attending clinics, but now I am fully in school.”

Attacking disease

WASH projects provide comprehensive water solutions. At Ngunu Primary School, rain harvested from new roof catchments fills tanks holding 16,000 litres.

Filters ensure the water is safe to drink and sanitation training teaches pupils good hygiene habits, which the children then pass on to their families so that whole communities benefit.

A new outlook

Kyengo Mutua used to arrive at school tired from carrying water in heavy jerry cans. He says, “Life was too difficult because there was not enough water in the school. We can now get clean water for drinking and cooking for our school feeding program. We are able to be in school daily, boosting our academic performance.”

Those who have been helped often wish to share their good fortune with others.

Kyengo’s future is taking flight. “My dream is to become a pilot and help uplift the unfortunate in my locality,” he said.

This story first appeared in Salvation Army International Development Spring 2018 Newsletter.

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