Women are the most affected by lack of adequate water and access to sanitation. In honor of International Women’s Day, Deeper Missions would like to highlight how we are contributing to the improvement of women’s livelihoods in Sierra Leone.
Access to Water
In many developing countries, women and girls are the primary household members charged with collecting water, often spending a considerable amount of their day traveling long distances to collect water in containers weighing over forty pounds. The UN estimates that every year, collectively, women from Sub-Saharan Africa spend about 40 billion working hours collecting water. See more facts on the challenges rural women face here.
Deeper Mission’s Amputee Camp Well Project is working to change those conditions for one community by improving access to a clean water source in Bo, Sierra Leone. Reducing the amount of time dedicated to fetching water has shown to have a positive impact on a number of areas in women’s livelihoods. A study by UNICEF and the International Water and Sanitation Center cited that in Tanzania showed a 12% increase in school attendance when water was available within 15 minutes compared to more than half an hour away. By creating a safe and clean water source at the Amputee Camp, Deeper Missions is contributing to the reduction of the burden of women and girls so they can spend more time on their education and income-generating activities.
Access to Sanitation
Women’s livelihoods are disproportionately affected by a lack of sanitation infrastructure. Over 1 in 3 women in the world lack access to safe sanitation. Women are often at risk of physical assault as a result of seeking a place to relieve themselves; a UNICEF report describes this as women and girls being “prisoners of daylight.” As a result, women and girls living without toilets spend an estimated 97 billion hours each year finding a safe place to use the bathroom. Deeper Missions works with institutions, such as Mercy Hospital in Bo, Sierra Leone, to install safe, readily available sanitation facilities.
WASH for Schools
Inadequate sanitation facilities affect school attendance, especially for girls. A UN-Water Global Annual Assessment, less than half of schools in least developed and low-income countries have adequate sanitation facilities. During school years, access to toilets reduces school attendance because of increased incidences of diarrhea and worm infections. Over 40% of diarrheal cases in schoolchildren are sourced from schools.
Through our sanitation projects, Deeper Missions is helping to provide safe facilities for school-aged girls so they can spend more of their time focusing on their studies and less time out of school.
International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is celebrated each year on March 8th. The theme of this year’s Women’s Day is “Inspiring Change”. Deeper Missions honors all women across the globe who inspire change by overcoming challenges, even environmental challenges, to better their lives and as a result, the lives of their families, their communities, their nations and our planet. Through our projects, Deeper Missions contribute inspire change by addressing the important role that water, sanitation, and hygiene has in the lives of women.