Water is the key to life, but it is a key transmitter of disease.

Because people tend to use areas close to water when they defecate in the open, once we have sanitation in place we can install water facilities with the confidence that it will not be polluted in the future. There is a long list of illnesses relating to water borne diseases and they can be severely debilitating and even fatal.

Water has to be treated with respect and in the knowledge that is a finite resource. We gauge the local need and make sure there is enough drinking and cooking water for everybody, and then we make sure that people understand that water not good enough for drinking is OK for washing clothes or using on plants.

Too much water is needlessly wasted because people are not given this valuable message.

The water pumps we use are all capable of being repaired at village level. It is no good installing sophisticated hand pumps if they cannot be maintained. In Sierra Leone we are also using rope pumps that can actually be made in the local area, another worthwhile benefit.

Read more in our water leaflet (168kb PDF).

Sanitation and water combined are important factors in improving health, so it is only then that people are able to function efficiently in both education and work, and we can move on to livelihoods.