Teaching “Water Keepers” to
Protect Health

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one the most important measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is frequent and effective handwashing. But what if you can’t access clean water or aren’t aware of good hygiene practices?

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| Two girls in Malawi working together to use a water pump. 

Unfortunately, more than 300 million people in Africa, which is 40% of the population of Africa — and 2.4 billion people globally – lack access to clean water. Women and girls are often responsible for gathering a family’s water and in some remote African villages walk up to 4 hours/day to do so. Around the world, women consume 200 million work hours/day collecting water. As family water collectors and keepers, women are important agents for health in the fight against COVID-19 and other diseases.

In the 2018-2025 Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) strategy, the WHO advocates implementing easy-to-implement hand hygiene and water storage practices that make sense in local contexts. 

Suggesting simple things like storing household water in frequently washed, covered containers can improve health. For instance, where installing systems for running water is challenging, or as an interim measure, tippy tap water systems can quickly be implemented to provide clean water hand-washing stations. Just a jug of water, a foot pedal, and some soap, all suspended on a wooden frame, ensures clean hands and helps prevent the spread of disease.

In communities where World Renew local partners have already constructed water systems, we are helping them to spread the word about vital sanitation and hygiene principles. Our partners are safely sending local instructors or using radio and cell phones to share messages about handwashing with soap and clean water, safe water storage, proper waste management, and other practices to help prevent transmission of COVID-19 and other diseases.  As well, World Renew partners are teaching and equipping mothers to use clean water in cooking and gardening so they can protect their children from serious waterborne illnesses and also keep their little ones healthy with home-grown, nutritious food. 

Clean water can help stop disease transmission, and prevent water-borne illnesses. Support World Renew’s continuing work to bring safe water and disease-prevention hygiene practices to families in communities where we serve.

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