Tomorrow, Saturday 22nd March is World Water Day. Each year this globally recognised day focuses on a different aspect of freshwater, with 2014’s attention turning to the increasingly spoken about relationship between water and energy.
As one of the five key messages of this year’s World Water Day states: ‘the “bottom billion” urgently needs access to both water and sanitation services, and electricity. According to the UN, ‘worldwide, 1.3 billion people cannot access electricity, 768 million people lack access to improved water sources and 2.5 billion people have no improved sanitation. Water and energy have crucial impacts on poverty alleviation’.
Given that the women we work with live in the ‘water-stressed’ countries of Malawi and Zambia, World Water Day hits a certain chord with us here at MicroLoan. Our clients are some of the world’s most impoverished and economically marginalised women living in rural areas that lack access to clean water sources, improved sanitation, and electricity. Many are also incredibly reliant on unreliable rain-fed crops, leading to a lack of food and malnutrition in poorer households.
Despite these challenges, our clients are continuing to harness their entrepreneurial skills to not only develop their own profitable businesses, but to also address some of the clean water and energy issues faced on a daily basis in their communities. TakeCatherine (right), for example, who has not only used her loans from us to help her establish a successful business catching and selling fish, but has used the savings generated from her burgeoning enterprise to build a new home and install a water pump, which she charges her neighbours in the village to use (we’re already wondering what her next venture will be!).
Struggling to find clean drinking water and hygienic sanitation facilities is a daily reality that resonates strongly with many of the rural women and communities that we work with in both Malawi and Zambia. It is promising to see water policy improvements on a national level, but it’s equally – if not much more – impressive to see women like Catherine taking their futures into their own hands by making use of entrepreneurial opportunities provided by MicroLoan to lift themselves and their growing population out of poverty.
Help more women like Catherine provide clean water for herself, her family, and her community this World Water Day by donating now.
For more information on World Water Day 2014 or to read the World Water Development Report follow these links:
– Sophie Housley, Trust Fundraising Officer.