We may take it for granted, but water on demand is a luxury. With a simple turn of the tap, we shower, bathe, quench our thirst, cook our food and keep everything clean.
But for far too many girls and women, water is a lifelong burden.
Girls and women around the world spend 200 million hours a day gathering water. In 8 out of 10 homes without running water, it’s the girls who spend hours every day lugging heavy containers over rough terrain. They are often alone and at risk of attack or even kidnapping.
Time spent collecting water is time away from school — denying girls a chance to build a better future. Even girls who manage to fit learning into a day filled with household chores can easily fall behind because one in three schools lack the toilets they need once they hit puberty. Absenteeism among girls during their monthly periods becomes yet another barrier to education for girls already facing huge obstacles.
Once they grow older, girls face a life of caregiving made far more difficult by the lack of clean, safe water. Contaminated water causes illness for all, but it’s women and girls who care for the sick — especially during emergencies when damaged water supplies and compromised sanitation take a heavy toll.
For millions of women and girls, water is a problem. But UNICEF has solutions: time-tested, effective programs to bring safe water and sanitation to entire communities — and to set girls free.
Help UNICEF help girls and women around the world by providing easier access to safe water.
Take a 360° tour of Uganda and meet Sylvia. Learn about her strength and hopes as she struggles to find clean water.