Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Universal Children's Day!

On Universal Children's Day - November 20 - the Global Water Challenge's Tanvi Nagpal has released an exposé on water, children, and health:

Clean Start: Focusing on School Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: A Reflection From GWC

My summary: water, sanitation and hygiene in schools is one of the world's most pressing global public health challenges, and likely its most solvable. Get involved.

Key points from Tanvi's summary:

THE ISSUE: Half the schools in the world that open their doors every day have no clean water or latrines.

THE IMPACT ON CHILDREN'S HEALTH: When there is no water in the school, children cannot wash their hands and disease travels rapidly through crowded classrooms. One-third of children worldwide get intestinal parasites form dirty water and unclean hands.

THE IMPACT ON CHILDREN'S WELL-BEING: Clean water and sanitation are as essential to learning as good books and solid teachers. Without these necessities, children have trouble paying attention in school, and many fall ill and have to miss class. In the long term, educational achievement is one of the most important determinants of health, life expectancy, economic productivity, and the wellbeing of future generations.

THE SOLUTIONS: If the schools lacks access to water, rainwater harvesting and shallow wells can be good, low-cost options. If the school has access to dirty water, then water filters and chlorine tablets are often best. Basic hygiene education (particularly about handwashing) and soap helps reduce the spread of disease.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Spread the word to your friends using GWC's tools.

You're on it.

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