The fight against the global eradication of trachoma needs a final push. The terrible disease, which causes blindness in 1.9 million people, requires surgery and antibiotics, but also clean water, hygiene and sanitation. The slowdown due to Covid-19 can be reversed in a joint and complementary move toward eradicating both diseases in the poorest and most disadvantaged areas in the world.
In all activities carried out during this hard year, we have been faced with human suffering, but we have also found hope. Hope generated by the knowledge of being understood and helped; the one generated by the enthusiasm and generosity of the institutions we collaborate with. These have redoubled their efforts despite all difficulties and deserve our admiration and gratitude. We will continue to be there, collaborating to overcome them, because we share the conviction that solidarity is a never ending asset.
The Foundation’s projects have provided water, sanitation and hygiene to more than 205,000 students and teachers in the most neglected regions of the world. The experience obtained in nine of the most disadvantaged countries corroborates the importance of schools as drivers of the development of hygiene and social justice. Now more than ever due to the pandemic, drinking water and adequate facilities are the base of the success of any educational goal. Mankind needs clean and healthy schools. Without them, no other SDG will be fully attained.
Toilets define a dual scope of responsibility: we must bring them to everyone and we must use them correctly. Having one is a demand for health, dignity and hope for economic development for more than 4.2 billion people. Those who already have one are obliged to a responsible use, essential for the proper functioning of the water cycle and a key factor for the adaptation to climate change.
Architecture and the building and tourism industries are key elements for the attainment of the SDGs. They must be a fundamental part of the model that will lead us to attain them and their international influence in the generation of social awareness is decisive. The “Smart Water Smart Reaction” debate showed there are plenty of ideas and initiatives in Mexico, Peru and Spain. The pandemic has strengthened the connecting thread of water as source of inspiration to overcome the global challenge we face and to appreciate the opportunities that appear before us.
Covid-19 deepens the drama of Venezuelan migrants in northern Brazil. The flow of those who leave their homes fleeing from poverty does not end and the pandemic has worsened the hardness and uncertainty of their exodus. The We Are Water Foundation has started a new project to provide basic handwashing facilities and hygiene training to those who survive in the worst conditions and to the citizens that take them in.
A new project of the Foundation brings water, sanitation and hygiene to Central American migrants who are crammed into unhealthy shelters in Mexico. They flee from poverty and violence and are trapped by politics and the pandemic.
Smart Water extends its discussion forum to make the most of the opportunities offered by the profound change we are experiencing. Smart Reaction will help create a new model that will allow us to effectively attain sustainable development. Through water, a smart reaction is based on dialogue and cooperation to overcome the survival and justice challenge humanity is facing. The world that designs, creates and builds living spaces must evolve even more towards collective intelligence, which will face all problems and will include all those who experience them.
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