Around the world on March 22nd, people recognized World Water Day. The day serves as a reminder of the vital importance of access to clean water and the large numbers of people who live without that access.
Nearly 900 million people around the world lack access to an clean water source, and 2.6 billion people lack access to proper sanitation. The dearth of clean water, sanitation, and hygiene is linked to over 2 million deaths every year mainly from diarrhea and diarrhea-related malnutrition.
The impact of water on all aspects of development is undeniable. The health, economic, and social consequences of water deficits in both quantity and quality for all users, as well as for the environment, are enormous and linked to many U.S. foreign assistance priorities in tangible and substantive ways. As a result, forging a water-secure world is an essential step in all of USAID’s development goals.
The people of the United States are dedicated to helping Liberia address water and sanitation challenges. Through USAID programs in the country, we are actively engaged in improving Liberian’s access to clean, safe drinking water and use of water for enhanced hygiene.
USAID’s Rebuilding Basic Health Services (RBHS) program includes activities to prevent water-borne and water-washed diseases by providing adequate quantities of good quality water, access to adequate sanitation, and the promotion of sound hygiene practices in schools and health facilities in rural communities across Liberia.
USAID also has a separate, new multi-year, multi-million dollar water and sanitation program that will seek to improve water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), as well as the enabling environment for WASH, in target areas within the six counties of Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Lofa, Nimba, Bong and River Gee in Liberia and the selected communities of Bensonville and Duport Road in Greater Monrovia.
We are also strongly committed to improving the lives of women and girls who are disproportionately impacted by the lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
Sanitation is a critical gap and, in many countries, has lagged behind improving water supplies in terms of investment, political commitment, and progress. This is beginning to change, and USAID supports state-of-the-art approaches to sanitation that focus on behavior change, market development, and facilitating access to sanitation products and services.
In 2009 USAID activities world-wide gave about 6.4 million people access to safe drinking water and 3.4 million people to better sanitation.
In commemoration of World Water Week, USAID reaffirms its commitment to helping Liberians gain access to clean, safe water and vital sanitation and hygiene practices.