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Full and healthy with water

For the preparation of meals and washing dishes

Mädchen trägt Eimer auf dem Kopf
A girl carries the heavy water bucket on her head on the way to school © Kai Loeffelbein
Stephan Simon Team Sector Strategy, Knowledge & Learning

Water is not only used for drinking but also for growing and preparing food. Water is an essential part of our diet. Whether for washing dishes, giving water to animals or cleaning the body – clean water plays a big role in our lives.

Functioning toilets and opportunities for washing hands with soap are also a criterion for healthy communities. Therefore, Welthungerhilfe is convinced that water, sanitary facilities and hygiene (WASH) are key factors for securing healthy living and a good diet. WASH must be strengthened.

Success through collaboration

It works best when the commitment is shared by everyone. Such as in Kadoma in Zimbabwe. Welthungerhilfe established regional emergency offices following a country-wide cholera epidemic. In 2011, these offices merged into the Environmental Health Alliance (EHA). Today, the alliance also includes eight international non-governmental and several UN organisations. The success of EHA is very evident: Contingency plans have been established, and clean water canisters, disinfection tablets, medication and other materials can be made available quickly and without bureaucracy in the case of an emergency. Hundreds of water supply and sanitary facilities, particularly in schools and clinics, were renovated or constructed. Now, local incidents of cholera can be successfully fought within a few days.

It is evidence that good cooperation in the WASH area can lead to better health and diets. But cooperation requires practice. In recognition of this requirement, the community of states has established the "International Year of Water Cooperation." It is hoped that all stakeholders will use this opportunity to join forces.

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