The Clean Water Chain
This is Catherine. She has access to clean water, flushable toilets and soap at school. She sings in the school choir and wants to become an Accountant when she grows up.
For 13-year-old Catherine to have water at school, a fair few people need to be involved. At WaterAid, we call this the clean water chain. We build relationships with all links in the chain, from teachers to water treatment plant staff to policy makers, because a break in the chain could affect Catherine’s ability to access water.
Miss Rose. Educator.
For Catherine to learn about handwashing, she needs a teacher.
Miss Rose helps coordinates the school’s ‘WASH’ club, where students are trained to become ambassadors for good sanitation and hygiene among their peers and families at home.
Peter. The Plumber.
For the tap to work, we need a plumber.
Peter installs and fixes tap and toilet systems in the local community. He proudly wears his royal blue uniform which says “Water is life” on it. “I think it is very important to make sure people have access to clean water. I don’t mind getting up in the middle of the night to go out and fix things.”
Chris. Community Leader.
For water systems to be well maintained, we need community leaders.
Chris leads the Weyonje community action group, a network of people who teach locals how to use their water and toilet systems and keep them clean and functioning. “Many people appreciate our efforts, because they have learnt the value of safe water, sanitation and hygiene good practices”.
Zion. Water Testing Chemist.
For the water to be safe, we need a quality control officer.
Zion works for the public Water Treatment Plant, where she is responsible for ensuring that tap water meets the national standard. “Water is a unit that controls everything. I wanted to be serving humanity and have pride in what I do.”
Lillian. Senior Shift Overseer.
For the water to meet standards, the treatment plant needs to be clean.
Lillian and her team are responsible for checking water quality, reporting faults in the systems and ensuring the facilities are clean and free from contamination. “I have been in water engineering for 15 years, and I love that new women are joining… It feels good to work with men because you keep impressing them.”
Olivia. Electrical Engineer.
For water to be clean, equipment needs to be working.
Olivia’s job is to make sure the systems work consistently. Her team attend to faults and troubleshoot problems. “If there is a problem, we need to react very quickly and fix things… I find solving problems very fulfilling.”
Christopher. Policy Maker.
For good decisions to be made on water, we need buy-in from official leaders.
Christopher works for the Ministry of Water and Environment and oversees the performance of water utilities. He ensures “the person who pays for water… (gets) water all year round, 24 hours of the day and in the right quality and quantity.”
WaterAid and H&M Foundation are working together to bring clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to communities around the world.
H&M Foundation is funding a three-year water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) initiative in partnership with WaterAid aimed at addressing the root causes of poor WASH inclusion and sustainability.
The SusWASH Programme - implemented in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Uganda and Pakistan - aims to ensure that WASH access is both inclusive and sustainable. We're doing this by combining cross-sector integration with efforts that empower citizens and strengthen government, civil society, local private sector leadership and institutional processes.
This article also appeared in WaterAid's Oasis Spring-Summer 2019 magazine, available for download here.