WATER, SANITATION AND HEALTH, INDIA

Imagine having to wait all day to go to the toilet or walking two hours to collect water...

As in much of India, access to clean drinking water and safe toilets is a major issue in Gujarat. Dirty water and unsafe hygiene practices are a source of life-threatening illnesses. These effects are particularly felt by women who are responsible for fetching water, sometimes having to walk two hours a day to collect enough for their family.

Poor sanitary conditions are the cause of many waterborne diseases, some that are life-threatening.

Limited access to toilets also mean that women have to contain themselves until it is dark to find a discreet place out in the open. In addition to the health and hygiene issues brought about by open defection, safety is also a serious concern.

Gujarat, a coastal state, is situated in the north west of India, on the border with Pakistan.

In response to these challenges, AKF began implementing a water and sanitation programme in 2001 in 50 villages in Gujarat.

This saw the installation of thousands of water pumps and toilets and a communications campaign promoting good sanitation practices together reaching over 80,000 people.

The installation of pumps has significantly reduced the amount of time women spent a say collecting water freeing up time for other activities. And access to cleaner water has meant less illnesses.
The construction of toilets has not only improved sanitary conditions but also meant that women can relieve themselves when needed, rather than having to wait until the cover of darkness.
Community meetings at which good hygiene practices are explained and demonstrated are an essential method to reduce the incidences of waterborne diseases and improve health.

The objective was to improve the health and living conditions of rural communities, especially women, children and socially marginalised groups. And, significantly, to provide people the privacy, convenience and dignity we take for granted.

These activities resulted in a significant decline in morbidity and mortality levels.

£120,000 of the funds YOU raised at the 2009 Walk & Run helped construct water pumps and toilets for a further 3,000 people!

This programme perfected the safe sanitation model that AKDN is now scaling up in six other states.

The initiative will facilitate access to sanitation for 100,000 families and improve water, sanitation and hygiene in 538 schools and communities under the Prime Minister’s “Clean India” programme.

Jesabl Lakshma is the panchayat leader in Deda village, Junagadh, Gujarat. Since the community drinking water scheme was established he says that the community are suffering less from skin diseases, kidney stones and typhoid.
Nagal Behen recently constructed a toilet and washing area which she shares with her son, daughter-in-law and young grand-daughter. Nagal Behen decided to construct a toilet for themselves after they learnt about the importance of safe sanitation at community meetings. Gir Somnath, Gujarat.
Laxman Bhai from Vavada village, Gir Somnath, Gujarat

Laxman Bhai and his family have never had access to a toilet. In recent years going to the toilet outdoors has become difficult, especially during the monsoon as their village often becomes flooded. After learning about the positive health benefits of having a toilet Laxman has decided to build one for his family. It's currently under construction as part of AKDN's Comprehensive Sanitation Programme.

Thank YOU for helping make a diference!

www.akf.org.uk

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