Clean water for every child

Children die every day because they don’t have access to safe water and clean toilets

Water and sanitation-related diseases such as diarrhoea are one of the biggest causes of death for children under five around the world. Every day, more than 800 children die from preventable diseases caused by unclean water, or a lack of sanitation and hygiene.

Poor sanitation, water and hygiene affect more than just children’s health. Children – particularly girls – often miss out on education because schools lack proper toilets and hand-washing facilities. Others miss out because they have to spend their days making long journeys to collect clean water rather than going to school.

Sulem, 9, has to walk four kilometres from her home to collect water from a borehole - or her family will go without anything to drink.
Unicef/Somalia 2017/Ayene

Source: Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water, Unicef/WHO July 2015

Unicef helps more children get access to clean water

Our water, sanitation and hygiene teams work in more than 100 countries, keeping children safe by providing better water supplies and sanitation facilities in schools and communities, and by promoting safe hygiene practices like hand washing.

With your support, we helped nearly 14 million people in 2015 get access to clean water, and provided more than 11 million people with basic toilets.

In emergencies, we provide urgent relief to communities and countries whose water supplies have been disrupted, and when there’s a threat of disease. Right now we’re working in East Africa and Syria (see photo gallery below) to make sure families have access to clean, safe water.

Watch to find out how families in South Sudan struggle to access safe water in Juba and other parts of the country, and how Unicef is helping.

Every day in May 2017, Unicef trucked hundred of thousands of litres of safe drinking water to the Karama camp in Syria. Mohammad, 13, moved to the camp with his family when the violence near his hometown became too much to bear. All photos Unicef/Souleiman
A girl carries a jerrycan to collect water, at the Karama camp in Syria, May 2017.
Boys carry buckets to collect water. Ten-year-old Remethan (middle) and his family fled fighting in their village. Everyday he joins his friends in the camp to collect water for his family. "I just want to return home and live in a real house," he says.
Ali pushes jerrycans filled with water in a wheelbarrow. "We had to leave our home at night and leave everything behind," he says. "I was scared all the time when fighting took place very close to our house. I felt like a stray bullet could kill me any moment." Ali's school was closed four years ago, due to fighting. He hopes to continue his education and become a teacher.

“Malnutrition is a function of several things, including access to safe water,” says Jeremy Hopkins of Unicef South Sudan. “With increased access to safe water, children are less likely to become malnourished. We’ve supported hundreds of thousands of people in South Sudan to access safe water.”

You could help us reach more children around the world to make sure that they have access to clean, safe water. Make a donation today.

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