Empowering Women through Water

By: Katherine Sentlinger (Guest Writer)

Millions of people live in poverty everyday due to lack of clean water sources. Often, the water sources that are available are polluted and are located very far away. In developing countries, the task of water collection most frequently falls to women and young girls. Often, these women and girls spend hours a day traveling to collect water to meet their family's needs. As this task is so time consuming, they are often unable to finish their education, focus on domestic duties and find other job opportunities. Having access to clean, nearby water sources empowers women to improve their futures and to bring their families and communities out of poverty.

Education allows women to improve their futures and the future of their communities. According to The World Bank , girls' education is essential in "the reduction of child and maternal mortality, improvement of child nutrition and health …enhancement of women's domestic role and… improvement of the economic productivity and growth…" Many girls do not have time for their education because they are needed to collect water daily for their family's everyday needs. Having a close water supply allows these girls to save hours of time with which they can work on their education. Projects, such as those sponsored by The Water Project, build and repair wells throughout Africa and India to bring clean water sources closer to the communities. By having this close water source, women and girls do not have to travel for hours a day to collect the water needed to support their families. They have more time to work on their schooling to improve their prospects for their futures and the futures of their families and communities.

With closer water supplies, women have more time in the domestic setting. At home, the extra time allows women to better take care of their families and to improve the overall health and nutrition of their families. With improved health, these families can work together to develop their communities and improve their futures and improve the lives of those in future generations.

With the added time, women are given more opportunities to work outside of the home to bring in extra income for their families. This extra income can be used to improve the lives of her and her family by providing them with better financial access to medical treatments, education, and to food other than the food produced by the family farm, which can provide a much more balanced diet for her family and improve their overall health.

The Water Project is helping empower women to bring their communities out of poverty by providing close, clean water supplies to developing communities. The Water Project builds and repairs wells in locations, such as schools, that are central to the community in need. Through the use of these wells, women can spend less time collecting water and have more time to have jobs, get an education and take care of domestic duties.

References:

 
"Girls' Education." The World Bank. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2010. 
<http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTEDUCATION/  0,,contentMDK:20298916~menuPK:617572~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSitePK:282386,00.html>.
 
"Oloile Secondary School: Changing Lives - One Girl at a Time." The Water Project. N.p., 2009. 
Web. 30 Oct. 2010. <http://thewaterproject.org/community/projects/kenya/oloile-secondary-school>.
 
"Water." WaterAid USA. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2010. 
               <http://www.wateraidamerica.org/what_we_do/the_need/water.aspx>.
 
The Water Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2010. <http://thewaterproject.org/>. 

"Women's Empowerment." CARE. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2010.

<http://www.care.org/newsroom/publications/whitepapers/woman_and_empowerment.pdf>.

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