Global water issues affect women and girls most

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Women and children are responsible for water collection in 71% of sub-Saharan households without drinking water.
10-year-old Neema of Kenya (right) collects clean water with her sister from a water point World Vision built in her community. Photo/World Vision
(May 11, 2016)

MISSISSAUGA, ON – Globally, water issues affect women and girls most deeply. According to international NGO World Vision, when water is scarce it is women and girls who sacrifice the most. Without clean water it’s not just their health that is in danger, but also their safety and their opportunities to invest in a brighter future. Studies show that access to clean water has an impact on the health and security of women, and on the education of girls. 

What is wonderful about water is that solutions immediately improve so many aspects of a community. With the provision of clean water, a community will immediately see benefits in the health, nutrition, security, education and success of people living there, in particular, women and girls who more harshly carry the costs of dirty water. 

Neema, 10, from Kenya used to wake up early each morning to collect water for her family. She would have to walk down a very steep hill to a contaminated water source. She often missed school because of time spent gathering water or because the water made her sick. She was once rushed to the hospital from school due to a waterborne illness.  Everything changed when clean water was brought to her community. “Now I’m happy and healthy. I have clean water and I don’t get sick. I don’t miss school and I’m doing well,” she says. She is maintaining good grades, and she is studying in the hopes of becoming a teacher.   

World Vision, a leading NGO provider of clean water in developing countries, is highlighting how this important resource is changing lives. Currently they provide a new person with clean water access every 30 seconds.


“When you see a community that has recently been provided clean water, you see a community changed. You can see the immediate effect of clean water on all aspects of society. This is especially true for women and girls, who are affected the most when it isn’t available.” 

- Lyndsay Hockin, Team Leader, Humanitarian & Emergency Affairs, World Vision Canada 

Quick Facts:
  • Women and children are responsible for water collection in 71% of sub-Saharan households without drinking water. 
  • Women in homes without running water in Africa and Asia walk an average of 6 km to fetch water.
  • Their unsafe journey to collect water puts them at daily risk of attack and other types of bodily harm.
  • Poor access to water hurts girls’ education. In Tanzania, a study showed that school attendance levels were 12% higher for girls who live within 15 minutes of a water source than for girls who live an hour away.* 
  • Studies show that reducing time dedicated to water collection enables women to earn more money for themselves and their families.
  • With less time collecting water, women have more time to invest in their families and in income-producing work
What Canadians can do:
Visit for more information and to donate clean water.