Endemic water-borne diseases kill more than 10,000 children in India each year. COVID-19 now threatens a health system that has proved powerless to cover the 1.3 billion inhabitants of the second most populated country on Earth. The lack of sanitation and hydric stress are factors that increase the risks of the pandemic.
Extreme heat and irregular monsoons are the worst threats for India. The adaptation to the global climate crisis is particularly urgent in the large Asian country, where the life of its population directly depends on the water cycle.
In India, the enormous challenge of achieving the sustainable growth of a country that in a few years will be the most populated in the world, should be based on avoiding the ruin of small farmers, empowering them to fight drought, the degradation of the land, single-crop farming and social imbalance. The construction of small self-managed reservoirs brings life to the most impoverished farmers and is a development model to be followed in semiarid regions.
Around fifty thousand women in Haiderpur will overcome the hygienic difficulties of menstruation, and many more have found work opportunities. Also more than 660 families in Bhiwadi can now avoid open defecation. Some testimonies of women benefitting from the projects of the Foundation in India show the importance of working for gender equality throughout the entire country.
Can the use of the bathroom cause a division in society? This is what cur-rently happens in most cities in India, where the domestic staff suffers the reminiscences of ancestral classism. #CleanYourHeart, a short film by the We Are Water Foundation, reflects a situation that hampers the socio-economic development of the country and sends a message of progress supported by the younger generations.
The winning of four iAgua Awards implies the recognition of the sector to the work of the Foundation and a motivation to move forward in the battle fought by mankind to achieve full access to water and sanitation. It is becoming increasingly urgent to raise awareness in society to create a common front against climate change, environmental degradation and poverty.
We are not aware of what we have until we lack it in a moment of need. The social experiment carried out by the Foundation in a well-off area of India on World Toilet Day started the campaign #CloseOpenDefecation in a country where more than 250 million people defecate in fields, streets and railways. A fake toilet stirred consciences.
In India, in addition to adequate and dignified toilets, it is necessary to extend knowledge and hygienic practices among the population, especially in schools and women of menstrual age. This is a goal that requires important socio-cultural and educational advances and is taken on by the We Are Water Foundation in its projects in India. On World Toilet Day these efforts took on special prominence.
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