In Rwamwanja camp in Uganda, almost half of the refugees are of school age. Water and sanitation are inadequate and may jeopardize the future of thousands of families. Schools offer displaced people more than education: shelter, security, and care.
Two new projects in India further train women to understand the water cycle, manage water resources and maintain water supply facilities. Freed from having to fetch water, women provide crucial support that multiplies the benefits for the community and increases its resilience to climate impacts.
Another outbreak of violence in Sudan has triggered a new wave of refugees. Chad, which already hosts more than 400,000 Sudanese in 13 camps, is once again under pressure that is hard to absorb. The conflict sets off geopolitical alerts, but what about the humanitarian ones?
With more than 1.425 billion inhabitants, India is already the world's most populous nation. However, the country faces a promising future with enormous challenges. Achieving efficient agriculture that is resilient to the climate crisis is paramount. This goal will be completed by training rural communities to manage every drop of water, diversifying crops, and empowering farmers. Monsoon water harvesting and improved irrigation efficiency are two crucial strategies.
In this turbulent 2022, we have helped people displaced by war and improved the lives of farmers and schoolchildren. The rights of women and children to access water, sanitation, and hygiene have remained our main focus. We have participated in major international debates on climate and water, promoting dialogue and awareness. But it is not enough; we must continue to move forward to turn water and sanitation from a problem into a solution.
We owe our present existence to hair loss and sweat on bare skin. These evolutionary traits gave us thermoregulation, which allowed us to thrive outside the shade of the forest. It also created a total dependence on immediate access to water that has stayed with us to this day.
Last May, we completed a well construction project at the Ngubo school in the Lupane district, one of the poorest in Zimbabwe. The benefits for students and their families show how improved access to water changes lives: it provides health and dignity, boosts the educational process, and generates knowledge to adapt to the climate crisis and fight against poverty.
Violence and the climate crisis have already displaced 100 million people worldwide. The meeting "Sanitation in Conflict," which we organized with World Vision, UNICEF, and UNHCR on World Toilet Day, revealed little-known aspects of a humanitarian crisis that is spreading and that, in many cases, we tend to forget.
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