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WaSH – Impacts on health

January 28, 2020

WaSH stands for ‘water, sanitation and hygiene’. Universal, affordable and sustainable access to WaSH is a key public health issue within international development. Successful WaSH programmes can improve health, life expectancy, student learning, and gender equality, while reducing poverty and infant mortality. Since 2000, billions of people have gained access to basic drinking water and […]

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Water, Sanitation, Hygiene

WaSH stands for ‘water, sanitation and hygiene’. Universal, affordable and sustainable access to WaSH is a key public health issue within international development. Successful WaSH programmes can improve health, life expectancy, student learning, and gender equality, while reducing poverty and infant mortality.

Collecting water from a contaminated source – Uganda

Since 2000, billions of people have gained access to basic drinking water and improved sanitation facilities. But, often, these remain unsafe. Many homes, medical facilities and schools still lack soap and water for handwashing. This puts the health of all people – but especially young children – at risk of contracting diseases, such as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, and typhoid.

Mother and baby visit a medical facility in Uganda

Lack of sanitation contributes to hundreds of thousands of child deaths every year. The statistics are shocking:

  • Today 1 in 3 people or 2.2 billion people around the world lack safe drinking water.

  • Over half of the global population or 4.2 billion people lack safe sanitation.

  • Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces.

  • Some 297 000 children – more than 800 every day – under five who die annually from diarrhoeal diseases due to poor sanitation, poor hygiene, or unsafe drinking water. 

  • Children younger than age 5 in countries experiencing protracted conflict are 20 times more likely to die from causes linked to unsafe water and sanitation than from direct violence.

  • 1 million deaths each year are associated with unclean births. Infections account for 26% of neonatal deaths and 11% of maternal mortality. 

  • Hygiene promotion is the most cost-effective health intervention.

  • 2 out of 5 people or 3 billion people around the world lack basic handwashing facilities at home. 

  • Universal access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation and hygiene would reduce the global disease burden by 10%.

In Uganda, the situation is particularly desperate

The current child mortality rate in Uganda is listed at 131 per 1,000 live births, or an effective mortality rate of 13.1%. This makes it the highest under-5 mortality rate in Eastern Africa. According to reports from the World Health Organization, Uganda is one of 24 countries that contribute 80% of the world’s deaths of children who are under the age of 5.

It is estimated that diarrhoea alone, one of three major childhood killers in Uganda, kills 33 children every day. In most cases, children get the disease by drinking unsafe water or coming into contact with contaminated hands that have not been washed with soap. 

Early childhood diarrhoea can be deadly. Even when it is not, it contributes to Uganda’s high levels of stunting, which goes on to undermine children’s cognitive development and performance at school.

One key measure that will reduce childhood illness and death is to stop using open fields or the bush as toilets. In Uganda, nearly a tenth of the population practices open defecation, and two thirds of households do not use soap when washing their hands. 

Through our programmes in Uganda, IRT aims to:

Delivering education in WaSH to a community
  1. Provide clean water through boreholes and protected springs, located close to communities.
  2. Encourage communities to construct pit latrines.
  3. Provide education in sanitation and hygiene measures – including the use of ‘tippy-taps’ for handwashing, dish-drying racks, the need to wash hands with soap and to ensure the cleanliness of homes.
  4. Create waste management systems through the use of rubbish pits.


WaSH – Water, Sanitation, Hygiene

January 28, 2020

Clean water, sanitation and hygiene are basic human rights. They are essential to ensure that children grow up healthy and happy. In Uganda, thousands of men, women and children are stuck in a devastating cycle of poverty where thirst and disease are so routine that they have become a normal part of everyday life. Not […]

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Water, Sanitation, Hygiene

Clean water, sanitation and hygiene are basic human rights. They are essential to ensure that children grow up healthy and happy.

In Uganda, thousands of men, women and children are stuck in a devastating cycle of poverty where thirst and disease are so routine that they have become a normal part of everyday life. Not only does contaminated water kill, the long treacherous journey to collect this water prevents thousands of young girls from going to school.

The Problem

More than 7 million children below the age of 5 die every year in the world. Contaminated water is a major cause.

Child mortality in Uganda is 131 per 1,000 live births. This makes it the highest under-5 mortality rate in Eastern Africa. Contaminated water is one of the main causes.

Diarrhoea is one of 3 major childhood killers in Uganda. It kills 33 children every day. Most get the disease by drinking unsafe water or by contact with contaminated hands.

Around 1.8 million people die every year from diarrhoea because they rely on unsafe water. Many are children.

In Uganda, thousands do not have water close to home. Every day, many young girls make the long walk to collect water, which is often contaminated. This prevents them going to school.

The Solution

Boreholes! Installing boreholes in remote villages in Uganda, which eradicate the problem of contaminated water.

If the target of 90% access to safe drinking water is achieved by 2020, 8.3 million Ugandans, including children, will be protected from water-borne diseases like diarrhoea.

IRT are on the case

IRT concentrate on providing long term solutions, not quick fixes. We help refugees to be self-sufficient, so we can leave, and help the next village that needs our help.

Not only are we building boreholes in many remote villages in Uganda, we are installing protected springs, pit latrines, dish-drying racks, rubbish pits, and tippy taps.

We are building toilets, so refugees have a clean and private place to go to the loo. Not only does this decrease the amount of disease in the villages caused by bad sanitation, this gives so many, especially women, the dignity they deserve.

IRT also train the villagers on how sanitation is important to a long and healthy life, from cooking and cleaning, to women’s sanitation, and providing washable, reusable sanitary towels.

Villagers thrilled to be using their new borehole

How much does it cost?

It costs us around £3,000 to install a borehole which provides clean water to a whole village. 

A protected spring costs us £930 to install. 

A ‘tippy tap’ costs just £2.23! Watch this video to see how simple it is to make.

A 3 pack of resuable sanitary towels cost £1.40 for a 4-month supply.

A bar of soap costs 41p.

A Pit Latrine lavatory costs us £458 to construct and install.

We need your help

All of this equipment is funded by you, our incredible supporters. All donations go towards building vital boreholes and other lifesaving equipment to provide clean water to millions of refugees, changing their lives forever and bringing them out of the cycle of poverty and suffering.

Any donation large or small will be an enourmous help to our friends in Uganda. Donate today to make a difference.

Read more about this life saving project:

WaSH – Toilets (Roots)

WaSH – Impact on health

WaSH – Sanitary Towels (Petal)

WaSH – Protected Springs

WaSH – Boreholes