Water and sanitation for everyoneMali, Uganda and Nepal

Imagine waking every morning knowing you will have to walk miles to collect water and find somewhere secluded to go to the toilet.

Now imagine you are an older person, you have a disability or a chronic illness.

A terrible hardship now becomes a physical impossibility. When new latrines are built and water points installed, some vulnerable people can be left out. So, we work closely with our partners, talking to everyone about their different needs. Something as simple as lowering the height of a tapstand or raising a latrine can transform dependence into self-reliance.

Through being equal and inclusive, we are one step closer to achieving our vision of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation. People like:

Amihata CoulibalyMali

Eighty-five year old Amihata Coulibaly contracted river blindness in 2001. In her community people who are blind are often marginalised.

She says, "I am dependent on the other community members. Can you imagine if you used to carry out all this work and then you can't? It is very painful." Amihata has now joined a local support group for people who are blind, and life is starting to improve.

Dolatia NamouduUganda

Steep, rocky paths become slippery in the rainy season and collecting water is hard. Dolatia Namoudu is 75 and was unable to collect water for herself, instead relying on her son.

Now, a rainwater harvesting jar gives Dolatia water close to home. "I felt very reliant on other people and didn't like to be a burden. Now I have independence."

Hari Bahadur SapkotaNepal

Hari Bahadur Sapkota has paralysis in both legs. He has been married three times and says his disability was one of the main reasons his wives left him. To use the latrine he had to crawl on the dirty floor.

With the simple addition of a commode over the pan and improved hygiene practices, Hari's life has changed. He is no longer stigmatised and is now responsible for cooking for his whole family.

Did you know?

  • Between 40-60% of older people in the poorest countries are unserved by improved sanitation and water. (WHO)
  • 64% of the world's population over the age of 60 live in less developed countries. By 2050 this figure will be 80%. (HelpAge International)

Find out more about how we support equity and inclusion in our work >