Water is essential for living, but it isn’t just about our ability to wash ourselves and to quench our thirst. As the UN explored last year, water is an important issue for a wide variety of reasons - gender inequalities mean that women and girls are often obliged to spend their time collecting water rather than attending school or doing other important activities.
One of the key themes around World Water Day is water and jobs. At Wonder, many of our education projects rely on a clean, good supply of water to function. Some reasons are obvious - our partners training young women in technical and vocational education need water to show them how to provide a good quality, hygienic service and product to customers. To prevent spread of disease, our friends training nurses in the Democratic Republic of Congo need water to pair with an professional understanding of hygiene systems, which they also teach.
But other reasons are important too. Water is also necessary for any empowering educational experience. At Wonder, we believe that all women and girls deserve empowering spaces to learn, and a key element of this is that our projects all take place in buildings with clean and sufficient toilets, basins and drinking water.
The UN recognises that having too few or unclean toilets and sanitation facilities in schools lead both to poor health in students but also contributes to absenteeism and the high drop-out rates of girls, who cannot keep clean when they have their periods. Clean conditions in schools can initiate change by helping to develop useful life-skills on health and hygiene. New hygiene behaviours can lead to life-long positive habits, not only for the students but also within the community, as students take behaviours into their homes.
This World Water Day we want to celebrate the commitment of our partners to providing safe and clean learning environments to women and girls, where girls feel empowered and valued.
If you would like to take action to support education and provide hygienic conditions to women and girls in Democratic Republic of Congo, please donate. You can also find out more about our DRC partner project here.