The international charity Water for Kids is celebrating 20 years of supporting communities in low income countries, by helping them access safe drinking water.
Water for Kids was first established in December 1996 and to celebrate this landmark anniversary, Matthew Pennycook MP for Greenwich and Woolwich is hosting an event at the House of Commons today.
The charity was originally started by Environmental Health Officers from the UK after they had worked on a cholera project in Peru. Since 2006, Water for Kids has raised an average of £60,000 every year and has provided water, sanitation and hygiene education to 154 communities in nine countries helping to transform the lives of more than 390,000 people.
The charity currently focuses their efforts on helping people in Africa, with projects mainly in Zambia and Uganda.
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Peter Minhinnett, Chair of Water for Kids, said “All of the charity’s projects aim to be sustainable, making use of local labour and materials and involving local communities from the outset, so that they are able to maintain installations on their own.
In the UK we take safe drinking water for granted but we are extremely fortunate, while people in low income countries are not so lucky,” said Peter.
“Safe water is absolutely essential in order to lead a healthy life and through our efforts, we have improved health and education, reduced poverty and, above all, saved lives. Children have been able to attend school more regularly because there have been fewer cases of disease and safe water supplies mean communities can grow food to eat and sell and can build better homes and new classrooms more easily.”
Water for Kids aims to preserve and protect the good health of children and communities in low income countries by providing safe drinking water and by improving hygiene and sanitation. In doing so, it contributes to a number of the UN Sustainable Development goals and targets improving the health and wellbeing of many communities.
Initiatives carried out in the past 20 years includes building dams making it easier for people to collect safe water from a pipe, drilling boreholes and providing hand pumps and stand-pipes, harvesting rainwater for schools and clinics, and training families to build their own toilets and tippy-taps for hand-washing.
In the coming year, Water for Kids will be completing a range of projects such as conducting a comprehensive water, sanitation and hygiene education project in the village community of Mukuutu in Uganda and providing water, using solar power, to both the school and clinic in Katoba, Zambia.
Anne Godfrey, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health said “Over the last 20 years, Water for Kids has worked closely with communities to achieve sustainable water supplies and to promote better hygiene. This has been an impressive achievement and has resulted in a lasting improvement in life for almost 400,000 people.”
Peter added: “I am extremely proud to be able to celebrate 20 years of Water for Kids and we hope that we can continue to help people living in low income countries to get easy access to clean, safe and sustainable drinking water long into the future.”