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Access to water and sanitation key to gender equality – SOS Malta

Posted Date: 08/03/2012


MaltaToday - 8 March 2012

Celebrated on 8 March, International Women's Day is a global day of recognition and celebration of women throughout the world. Inequality and access to water and sanitation are inextricably linked in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Despite over a hundred years of action for the promotion of women's rights, women globally and in particular in the developing world still face inequality and marginalization due to their sex.  Tragically the poorest women are those who suffer the most. This is also the case for the water and sanitation crisis globally, which disproportionally effects women and young girls.  

Women who spend hours each day collecting water cannot work to earn money or free up time for other daily needs, trekking up to six miles every day in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa to retrieve water for their families.  

Their daughters, who help them, cannot go to school and get an education. The cycle of poverty and marginalisation continues. This daily chore represents a huge physical burden for females.

Additionally, the lack of sanitation facilities reduces their dignity and leads to poor health. Needing to travel to fulfil water and sanitation needs even puts their safety in jeopardy, as they risk attacks as part of their daily journey.

Too often women also lack the voice to be heard in decisions affecting their community, their area and their country. This means that they lack the voice they need at every level to ensure water and sanitation are prioritized in development.

 SOS Malta's implements rain water harvesting projects in Uganda which are co-financed by the Overseas Development Aid programme through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malta and is also supported by Vascas Jewellers, Two Oceans, Professional Marketing Services, Orienta and Fortina Spa Resort and the many donations from the public through our Malta Walks for Water campaign

This project aims use the provision of water as the entry point into community development in Uganda.

Through this project SOS Malta is contributing to the achievement of MDG 7 to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

With access to water and sanitation facilities, women will have time to earn an income, and their daughters can go to school. This enables them both to gain a more prominent role in the community and in the long term contribute to ensuring equality.

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