When you help a community get clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, it’s girls and women whose lives can change the most.

In many of the countries where we work, men work to earn a living and the burden of collecting water falls on female members of the family.

When girls and women no longer have to make long journeys, or stand in queues waiting for their turn to collect water, it doesn’t just save hours of time every day.

It means they no longer have to risk serious injury, navigating uneven paths and steep ravines, where they’re also at risk from harassment, assault and animal attacks.

It reduces the risk of long-term damage to their neck, back and spine, a common injury caused by carrying heavy containers of water over long distances.

No longer having to drink dirty water also means better health, which in turn means the chance to stay in school, care for their families or earn a living.

And having a decent toilet at school, especially when they reach puberty, gives girls the chance to complete their education, helping them to break free from poverty and change their lives for good.

With clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, to be a girl is...

To be

"Now I have fewer chores to do and more time to study. I'm so happy I'm back in school and have the opportunity to learn more." – Ze, 12, Madagascar

Image: Ernest Randriarimalala

To have your

“Periods shouldn't come in the way of us achieving our dreams. I don’t think any girl should miss a school day because she is a girl.” – Melal, 15, Ethiopia

Image: Behailu Shiferaw

To be

“Before we lived here, we used to go to the toilet in the park. Sometimes I had to go alone. We've never had a household toilet. I'm happy!” – Laxmi, 18, India

Image: Adam Ferguson

Through working with our local partners, we’ve enabled girls and women in some of the toughest places in the world to break free from poverty, unlock their potential and build a brighter future.

It’s amazing progress. Which is why we’re determined to make clean water, toilets and hygiene a normal part of daily life for the millions of others still living without them.

Ending the walk for water

I walk for one hour to get water from a spring up the mountain. I take my baby and my daughter. In the rainy season it’s slippery. I’m scared of falling down with the baby. It’s very dangerous.
Filomena, Timor-Leste

Every day, millions of girls and women begin the long walk for dirty water. Together, we can end this dangerous journey within a generation.

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Facts and statistics

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