Did you know that there are currently more cell phones in the world than there are toilets?
This alarming statistic is a reality that is hard to believe. As we speak there are around 2.6 billion people worldwide who lack access to basic sanitation. This number accounts for almost a 1/3 of the worlds population and mainly in developing countries. When you talk of sanitation, the issue of water then arises, 1.1 billion do not have access to clean water. We could talk about water for days if we get started on the diseases, agriculture, pollution and all other aspects of our lives, which are countless, that have to do with water.
Out of the thousands of recommendations on water, implementing the right to water made it to the top 10 recommendations that were selected for the dialogue on water yesterday at Rio+20. As the panel of experts started to talk about it, it was very clear that implementing the right to water was not enough and sanitation had to be included in that sentence so that it reads “implement the right to water and sanitation”. This recommendation will be one of the 3 that will be presented to the Head of States in the coming days and should they commit to making it a reality, then everyone stands to gain and needless to say women and children will be the biggest gainers.
Women in developing countries who have no access to water spend almost 1/3 or more of their day in search of water. If this recommendation is followed through then the time women spend on this chore can be used in other ways that can be profitable to the women.
Women also suffer because of the lack of basic sanitation and more specifically the access to sanitary towels during menstruation. billions of women and girls around the world do not have access to sanitary towels and the school going ones loose almost 3 to 4 learning days every month. Access to clean water and sanitation will change the lives of women.