Celebrating 10 years of water and sanitation as a human right, with 10 photographers from Nigeria around the world

Image: WaterAid

Ten years ago, the United Nations General Assembly officially recognised the human right to water and sanitation. This means governments should be held to account if citizens are denied access to these essential services.

It seems unimaginable that such basic things, which allow people to thrive, were only officially recognised so recently. However, it was a huge triumph and positive step in galvanising action to ensure everyone, everywhere has access to water, sanitation and hygiene.

While progress has been made around the world over the last decade, 785 million people still don’t have clean water close to home and 2 billion people don't have a decent toilet of their own.

In Nigeria, about 60 million people (30%) lack access to basic water supply services, about 100 million (54%) lack basic sanitation and about 150 million people (84%) lack basic handwashing facilities with soap and water.

To mark the progress, and to highlight how far the world still has to go, we commissioned ten visual artists, including two from Nigeria, to each produce one original new work on the subject of water and sanitation as a human right.

We are using these striking new images to call on governments around the world to double their investments in providing clean water and good hygiene to those most in need, which takes on a renewed urgency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The photographers come from countries across the Global South and diaspora communities, bringing personal perspectives on identity, race and representation to the central theme of what life is like with or without clean water and decent sanitation.