Water is...time to be a child
Access to clean water is about more than survival: It is about giving kids the timethey need to be children – to learn, play and be happy
For children to enjoy this precious time, families need access to safe water close to where they live.
Around the world, children spend too much of their time collecting water or searching for a toilet. Globally, women and girls collectively spend about 200 million hours a day gathering water. [i] Women and girls without toilets collectively spend around 266 million hours a day trying to find a place to go.[ii]
Lack of access to safe water and sanitation also puts children’s health at risk. When their time is hijacked by illness or water collection, children do not have time to do things that contribute to their overall development and well-being. These things include attending school, playing with their friends, helping out around the house or simply being children.
The new Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for water and sanitation, Goal 6, calls for universal access to safe drinking water. The first step is to provide everyone with basic water service within a 30-minute round trip from their homes. The long-term goal is to make sure everyone has safe water in their homes.[iii]
For World Water Week 2016, 28 August – 2 September, UNICEF will highlight the importance of reducing the amount of time children spend collecting water or looking for toilets. The goal of the week is to celebrate all the things children could do with their time if they all had access to safe water and sanitation close to their homes: Learn, play and be happy.
The theme is #WaterIs … time. It links time to the hashtag #WaterIs, which is used on social media around the world to illustrate the meaning of water in people’s lives. For children who spend precious hours collecting water or searching for a toilet, water is time.
[i] UNESCO and World Water Assessment Programme, Water for Women report 2015: Water for Women. Every Woman Counts, 2015. http://www.unwater.org/fileadmin/user_upload/worldwaterday2015/docs/Water%20For%20Women.pdf
[ii] WaterAid, Briefing note – 1 in 3 women lack access to safe toilets, 2012
[iii] UNICEF, WHO, Joint Monitoring Programme 2015, WASH Post-2015 Proposed Indicators for drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, 2015
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