India is the world’s largest groundwater extractor. The country is home to 16% of the world’s population but has only 4% of the planet’s freshwater resources. Many of its aquifers are overexploited. The solutions lie in promoting efficiency in local water management. This will only be possible if communities are involved in solutions and if they acquire knowledge and governance rights. A role model for dryland agriculture.
The Sahrawi refugees who have been living in the Algerian desert for 46 years continue to face an uncertain future. The Spanish government’s recent policy shift has rescued one of the world’s longest-running humanitarian crises from oblivion. The short 22nd of April by Cesare Maglioni, finalist at the We Art Water Film Festival 5, shows how difficult it is to wash one’s hands in Smara, one of the five camps that host them, where a daily struggle for water, malnutrition, and hygiene is fought.
The climate crisis is creating severe problems in Cameroon. Desertification and floods generate thousands of displaced people every year who end up in cities unable to provide drinking water for all. The short film Mami Wata, a micro-documentary finalist at the We Art Water Film Festival 5, provides a testimony of the vulnerability of millions of Cameroonians who survive in one of the most water-deficient African countries.
The terms describing hygiene facilities are simpler than those for access to water and sanitation; they refer to the existence or lack of handwashing facilities and the availability of clean water and soap. Covid-19 has increased the value of these practices, which are fundamental to human health and dignity, and inaccessible to more than 2.27 billion people.
A new refugee aid project in Rwanda reminds us of the helplessness of those fleeing the almost silent wars and conflicts that continue to sow destruction and death. Most of them barely get by in camps with inadequate food, water, sanitation, and hygiene, but the worst thing for their lives and dignity is that their tragedy falls into oblivion.
Water emerges as the raw material to cleanly obtain hydrogen, a gas that will surely play a key role in the complicated and long journey towards the drastic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Water and energy make up an indivisible duality, which is strengthened by hydrogen. H2O takes on a new perspective for the planet’s health and prosperity.
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.
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