Nepal is a landlocked country with a challenging landscape. Many people must make long, dangerous journeys to reach water sources and just 31% of the population has somewhere safe to go to the toilet.

In the rural lowlands and the mountains, the distance to water sources is great and water supplies are often polluted with naturally occurring arsenic. Open defecation also spreads diseases across living environments.

In urban areas, the water supply cannot keep up with growing demand – natural sources are drying up and water levels are becoming dangerously low.

A decade of internal conflict has left 100,000 people homeless, often making the political situation difficult.

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How it affects people

Girls fetching water from a water source

Adolescent girls

Nyemo Amani, Tanzania, spends around four hours a day collecting water. Her school has no separate toilets for girls, so she drops out when she is menstruating.
A disabled man

Disabled people

For disabled people like Bartholemew Mtelia, who lost his leg in a lion attack in Tanzania, it can be extremely difficult to fetch water and sanitation facilities are often inaccessible.
A woman washing her child


Francis Okello washes her son outside the hospital, Uganda. Infants are unable to develop normally if their bodies are deprived of essential vitamins and nutrients because of diarrhoea.
An elderly woman putting on a jacket

Older people

In countries with little or no social security, older people are often forced to pay people to fetch them dirty water or make other sacrifices such as going without food or medication.
Two boys filling water bottles from a tap


New taps installed at a school in Tanzania. Teacher Abraham Amas says, “Before, girls were not attending well, they were always late because they were fetching water.”
A group of adolescent girls fetching water with containers


The time-consuming burden of collecting water in developing communities generally falls on women, often taking several trips a day and many hours of their time.