Water is the fundamental source for human development; from nature-based solutions to socio-economic development and human resilience. Water is a key enabler. In fact, water is life!
Humana People to People joins the rest of the world in celebrating World Water Week 2020. The five-day event, themed “Water and Climate Change – Accelerating Action”, will focus on innovation, science and all the necessary actions to achieve a climate-resilient future.
World Water Week 2020 will be commemorated from 24 - 28 August 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel, conferencing and meeting restrictions, the event will be conducted online. World Water Week assembles over 500 co-convening organizations and 4,000 participants from more than 130 countries in Stockholm every year. The 30th edition of World Water Week is organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and partners. A broad array of organizations will be hosting virtual sessions on water and climate, open for anyone to tap into – listen to and interact in.
This year, World Water Week occurs at a time when COVID-19 continues to spread relentlessly around the world; to compound this issue, specific treatment, including a vaccine, is not yet available.
Humana People to People understands that tackling COVID-19 requires a comprehensive package including preventive, protective and curative interventions. Poor water and sanitation and hygiene (WASH) conditions and lack of hygiene practices contribute to the spread of the virus, making it difficult to prevent and control the pandemic.
World Water Week 2020 offers a unique platform for much-needed knowledge sharing of information, and collaboration. There is need to develop and exchange new ideas. Now more than ever, it is time to find solutions to tackle the climate crisis. Even more urgently, examples of best practices and success stories must be shared at global level.
Members of Humana People to People are actively engaging communities where they operate in improving water and sanitation conditions. Community-based structures are formed and charged with organising actions, raising awareness, supporting efforts on access to clean water, and improving community and household hygiene practices. The Water and Sanitation and Health committee is a special community-based and people-led structure under Humana People People’s Child Aid and Community Development programmes, responsible for clean water provision, improving community and household sanitation conditions.
In Malawi, DAPP Malawi is responding to the long-term effects of Cyclone IDAI through the Child Aid Neno project that supports communities to implement recovery activities on sanitation and hygiene, creating a conducive environment so children can be free from communicable disease outbreaks.
A tangible change has been made amongst the people engaged at Child Aid Neno project as testified by Village Action Group Chairman, Richard Mano.
“The water and sanitation activities have opened our eyes to realise that organised community structures greatly assist in identifying and dealing with the challenges we face. As a group we agreed with all families involved to set-up hand washing facilities next to each latrine made in our individual households.”
Through water provision and sanitation interventions in various countries, Humana People to People projects established water supply infrastructures, built the capacity of communities to utilise water efficiently, and trained volunteers to repair and rehabilitate water pumps. Most water-driven projects integrate horticulture production activities as part of water management and nutrition awareness among the most affected communities.
Humana People to People’s Farmers’ Clubs programme builds capacity of small-scale farmers’ to adopt sustainable farming practices. Water is a crucial component in farming. The programme raises awareness among farmers to adopt water conservation techniques in horticulture production.
Many farmers have established gardens, creating family resilience against hunger through a constant supply of healthy vegetables. Farmers are encouraged to adopt improved watering methods such as small-scale irrigation systems, and to invest in solar-powered water pumps.
DAPP Namibia has worked with 1,000 small-scale farmers in the northern part of the country. The synergies of organised farmers’ group settings form the foundation of sustainable capacity development. Training farmers in horticulture production has helped many rural small-scale farmers in Namibia to adopt conservation agriculture in vegetable production.
A farmer actively involved with Farmers’ Clubs in Namibia explains: “Gaining knowledge in horticulture farming has helped us to fight malnutrition. Our children’s bodies are looking healthy. We knew that vegetables are nutritious, but now we can see it with our own eyes.”
Gender equity is a cross-cutting element in Humana People to People community programmes. Even more important when talking about water, women and girls bear the brunt of water shortages. They are the ones carrying water for long distances, and they are the ones responsible for the hygiene in the families.
Women are represented in at least 50% of the Water and Sanitation Committee positions. Giving women a voice in water issues has been a priority on water provision among the people and communities engaged at Humana People to People projects.
Humana People to People supports the most affected people with effective low- cost technology and environmentally friendly initiatives. These approaches have resulted in a marked increase in water utilisation efficiency, contributing to conserving this precious scarce resource. Furthermore, it has seen the adoption of climate change knowledge and subsequently, climate change adaptation techniques.
You may have heard about the amount of water it takes to produce some of the food on your plate. But have you ever considered the water-glugging impact of your wardrobe? Take an ordinary pair of jeans and a T-shirt, for example. Although a fashion statement, it turns out this simple outfit may have used much more than its fair share of precious water to manufacture before it gets to you, the consumer. From growing the cotton to the dyeing process, an estimated 20,000 litres of water is required to make just one pair of jeans and one T-shirt.
For the past 40 years, Humana People to People has been actively protecting the environment through collection and re-sale of second-hand clothes in Europe and the USA. This approach has saved millions of mega liters of water over the years, offering a second life to tonnes and tonnes of jeans, T-shirts and other clothing. By giving clothes a new lease of life through reuse, Humana People to People generates income to support its development work in Africa, Asia, Central and South America.
Humana People to People is committed to taking action and supporting lives –especially those at risk - amidst a growing universal water crisis and prevailing threats of climate change. A Call to Action by all sectors to adopt integrated water solutions is crucial to achieve the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals.