Water and Sanitation

Assessing Africa's Progress towards the Millenium Development Goal 7C

«Halve the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015»

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In 2015,

663 million people worldwide

still lack access to safe water.

That's 9 % of the global population.1

In 2015,

2.4 billion people worldwide

do not have access to basic sanitation facilities.

That's 37 % of the global population.1

In 2015,

1 billion people worldwide

still defecate in the open.

That's 15 % of the global population.1

What's the problem with lack of access to safe water and basic sanitation?

Poor sanitation and contaminated drinking water are linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, and typhoid. In health care facilities, inadequate or absent water and sanitation services put already vulnerable patients at additional risk of infection and disease2. In low- and middle-income countries worldwide, 38% of health care facilities lack any water source, 19% do not have improved sanitation and 35% lack water and soap for handwashing.3

Access to water and sanitation is important for economic development: In rural Africa, women and girls spend 26 % of their time collecting and transporting water to their homes4, often walking up to 100 km a day (watch the video: The long walk for water). Not only is the arduous task time-consuming and the taxing physical labor later leads to health problems4, women and girls are also prevented from going to school or doing income generating work5.

Infographic: 10 ways clean water changes the world

Tanzania: The long walk for water

Meet Florence

See what access to water means for her.

The Hippo Roller

While there is a long way to go before clean water faucets are installed in homes, the Hippo Water Roller is a simple solution that alleviates the task of collecting water. Designed by two South Africans, the Hippo Water Roller can carry up to 90 liters, lasts seven years or more, and is also a clean way to store the collected water. To date, more than 44,000 Hippo rollers have been distributed in South Africa and 20 other African countries. 4


1 World Health Organization / United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. 25 Years Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water: 2015 Update and MDG Assessment (2015). Available at http://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Progress_on_Sanitation_and_Drinking_Water_2015_Update_.pdf (last accessed: 25 May 2016)

2 World Health Organization. WHO/UNICEF highlight need to further reduce gaps in access to improved drinking water and sanitation. Note for media (2014). Available at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/notes/2014/jmp-report/en/ (last accessed: 15 May 2016)

3 World Health Organization. Drinking-water. Fact Sheet No. 391 (2015). Available at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs391/en (last accessed: 29 May 2016)

4 Friedman, S. 5 Amazing Inventions That Deliver Clean Water. GOODNET Gateway to doing Good (2015). Available at: http://www.goodnet.org/articles/5-amazing-inventions-that-deliver-clean-water-videos (last accessed: 29 May 2016)

5 The Water Project. Rural and Urban Water Issues in Africa (n.d.). Available at https://thewaterproject.org/water-in-crisis-rural-urban-africa (last accessed: 15 May 2016)

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