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The issue explained

A lack of safe water, proper toilets and good hygiene affects women and girls most.

One of the reasons for this is that women and girls are typically responsible for collecting water for the family. Girls often begin fetching water when they are very young and can continue to do so into old age.

Girls spend as many as six hours a day collecting water, leaving little – if any – time to go to school. As they get older, walking for water every day stops them being able to work to support themselves and their families. Trapped in poverty, they find it impossible to improve their situation and their health.


With no water sources close to home, many women have to walk long distances along difficult terrain to collect water, even when pregnant. A lack of clean water makes giving birth safely extremely difficult and mother and child sometimes don’t survive.

Without a safe, private place to go to the toilet, many women wait until night to relieve themselves in the open. This causes health problems and strips them of their dignity. To make things worse, many are harassed or even assaulted.

For young women and girls the effects of not having a safe toilet close by can be devastating, forcing them to drop out of school when they start to menstruate because they lack privacy and the means to stay clean and healthy.

For women and girls to live healthier, safer, more productive lives, everyone everywhere must have safe water, sanitation and hygiene.

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