Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Water Aid: Global Partnership by Alan Cole

In a world where over a billion people do not have access to safe drinking water and sanitation urgent solutions are desperately needed to support these most basic human requirements...

Tackling health problems in the third world that are associated with a widespread lack of sanitation and clean water is what the Bill Gates Foundation has described as one of smart investment. Improving access to toilets, sanitation and clean drinking facilities is basic stuff but could have the most enormous impact...

Currently more than 3.5 million children under five die annually from diarrhoea and respiratory infections, essentially due to a lack of standard hygiene and health facilities. More than two billion people lack access to adequate sanitation.

Basic investments in clean water, toilets and improved education about hygiene across a wide scale, could transform millions of lives, say a number of leading NGOs and international public health bodies.

That's why global orgs Oxfam, UNICEF, PSI (Population Services International), Save the Children and the World Food Programme are applauding the private sector investment that has been announced by Unilever at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The multinational food and hygiene specialist is making a commitment to its humanitarian obligations by announcing a partnership with these five major global organisations...

The Unilever Foundation is making a pledge to provide resources and intelligence to improve the quality of life in developing countries via enhanced access to clean drinking water, hygiene, sanitation, better nutrition and health facilities.

Via a range of initiatives Unilever says its foundation will be working with its global partners on life-saving projects across the world, including supporting the non-profit PSI improving the health of families through delivering behavioural change schemes focusing on basics like hand washing, clean drinking water and sanitation.

Similarly Unilever is supporting Save the Children to benefit the lives of children by improving access to health workers and vaccines.

The world faces enormous challenges in terms of health and sustainable development that can in some ways be best supported by getting to the heart of what the priorities are at a global level... For many millions of people around the world that's just simply providing them with the basics of drinking water, nutrition and sanitation so they can stay healthy and from that point onwards do the rest - with those basics in place the sky is the limit in terms of sustainable development in Africa, Asia and elsewhere...

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