World Water Day is held annually on March 22nd to recognize the importance of water in our world and advocate for the sustainable management of water resources.
CHF Honduras Water Harvesting Project Wins Global Award
Our Millennium Challenge Corporation-Funded water harvesting project in Honduras won the Actions in Water and Climate Change Adaptation Prize last week. The project worked with rural farmers in Southern Honduras to build reservoirs that can be used to irrigate crops throughout the dry season, improving their productivity and economic security. Read more about the project and the award here!
Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge
One of every two people on the planet live in a city, and 95% of the urban population growth in the coming years will happen in the developing world. The bulk of this growth is happening in Africa and Asia, and Latin America is not far behind. As the world’s population becomes more urban, often settling into informal communities, proper management of water resources is ever more crucial. Lack of planning and mismanagement of water resources causes disease and hinders economic development. Additionally, climate change and environmental catastrophes pose huge challenges to water access in the coming decades. By raising awareness, improving infrastructure and fully integrating communities into water and sanitation management, CHF International is working to ensure that the world’s urban future is not hindered by a lack of water.
Ghana is the most rapidly urbanizing country in the world- half of its population lives in cities and the urban population is growing at 4.3% a year. CHF International is implementing three integrated programs to foster urban development: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded SCALE-UP and YES and the USAID-funded WASH-UP. WASH-UP works to raise awareness and improve clean water access and sanitation for slum dwellers. YES provides sustainable employment opportunities for youth in the sanitation sector and SCALE-UP empowers communities to improve their own living conditions.
Amongst the many terrible effects of the 14-year civil conflict, Liberia’s water and sanitation infrastructure was destroyed, leading to an extreme lack of access to clean water both in urban and rural areas. Through the USAID-funded WASH program, CHF International is working in six counties in rural Liberia as well as two districts in Monrovia. Through these programs, we educate communities and municipal leaders, helping them to improve their water supply systems, sanitation facilities and hygiene practices. In Monrovia, Liberia’s urban center, we are working with waste management companies to improve the sanitation facilities around the city and with youth to provide them sustainable employment in this sector.
After the 2004 tsunami, we realized that one of the most pressing issues even before the tsunami had been the sanitation conditions of public markets around Aceh. A lack of water access had led to unsanitary conditions, spoiling food and creating an unhealthy environment for the people who shopped there. With funding from the American Red Cross and others, the Healthy Markets Program combined an improved structure design for the markets with health training for the vendors who worked there to use the markets as a forum to disseminate information about the importance of clean water and proper hygiene practices.
As part of CHF’s response to the 2010 earthquake, we have worked to increase access to sanitation for earthquake survivors. Through the USAID-funding, we have built over 2,500 latrines for displaced families. These latrines increase access to sanitation in underserved communities, preventing the spread of cholera and other water-borne diseases. The latrines are built by cash-for-work laborers, providing livelihoods for those who have lost them. Additionally, since 2006, we have built and upgraded crucial water and sanitation infrastructure such as drainage canals and water systems.
Extreme drought has been destroying livelihoods in Ethiopia for years, and CHF International has been working with communities to strengthen their economic opportunities and reduce dependence on food aid. By assisting them to rebuild their water resources and increasing their ability to respond to future environmental crisis, CHF has been increasing resilience and sustainability among Ethiopian communities.