World Water Day 2019
Anera in Gaza — Driving Action for World Water Day
Securing access to clean, drinkable water for all is one of the most critical priorities in communities affected by war and displacement. This achievement can’t come in the form of a handout or temporary solution — to make meaningful change, it must involve sustainable, long-term infrastructure building.
World Water Day is just once every 12 months, but it comes with a message that’s vital year-round — water as a fundamental human right, a building block of communities and a key component of public health.
At Anera, these are values that inform our work in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. As a donor, you’re supporting efforts to bring water to all — an important project that’s changing lives in a region heavily affected by conflict and insecurity. Let’s expand on the need for clean water in these communities and highlight some of the important projects your gifts are funding.
What Is World Water Day?
World Water Day is an international day of observance commemorating the importance of clean, sustainable freshwater. First celebrated in 1993, it’s held each year on March 22. As climate change and growing inequality imperil access to resources of all kinds, remembering the importance of universal access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is essential from a policymaking and development standpoint.
The United Nations proposed World Water Day in its 1992 Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. Each year brings a new theme. In 2019, that theme was “Leaving No One Behind.” Previous themes have included:
- Nature for Water (2018)
- Why Waste Water? (2017)
- Better Water, Better Jobs (2016)
- Water and Sustainable Development (2015)
In recent years, each theme has reflected an aspect of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 — to “ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”
What Is the Importance of World Water Day for Development?
Water insecurity can affect communities in even the most economically advantaged countries. However, the issue is especially severe in areas like Gaza:
- Only 10% of Gaza residents have access to safe water drinking water.
- A third of the income for Gaza residents goes to purchasing drinking water.
- Over 95% of the drinking water in Gaza is unfit for human consumption.
- Over 25% of the disease in Gaza is related to unsafe drinking water.
- Over 90% of households in the country have a tap that clean water used to flow from.
These conditions contribute to a wide range of public health issues, from endemic infectious diseases to higher child and maternal mortality rates. Often, it’s the most vulnerable members of a population who suffer the most.
Anera and Water
Addressing water issues is one of the first steps in building healthier communities. In the Middle East, where climate change, drought, waste and population growth contribute to chronic water shortages, careful management and modern infrastructure are essential. Working with local engineers and community leaders, Anera has funded and managed projects that have improved access to clean water and modernized irrigation and wastewater systems.
World Water Day is an excellent opportunity to support organizations providing on-the-ground assistance in vulnerable parts of the world. Read on to learn how your contributions are helping us improve health and sanitation in Gaza and beyond.
Our Work in Gaza and the West Bank
Over the course of the last three years, Anera has distributed hygiene kits to 8,921 families across Gaza and conducted 300 water and sanitation hygiene sessions. Over the full past decade, even more has been done. In that time, Anera connected nearly 400,000 Gazans to reliable, safe water and/or sewage networks.
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At our Annual Dinner on October 11, 2019, Anera proudly honored two wonderful supporters: Ambassador Edward “Skip” Gnehm, for his years of service to Anera, to diplomacy and to the greater good in the Middle East, and the Tarazi family, for…