In many developing countries, a lack of access to clean water can stand in the way of a girl’s right to education and protection – and this is because girls are often responsible for finding and collecting water for their families.
The grueling and lengthy walk for water can expose girls to violence, keep them from attending class and cause physical exhaustion. Furthermore, water is often collected from contaminated sources, and bringing this water home exposes entire families to life-threatening illnesses, like cholera and typhoid. These illnesses put added strain on healthcare systems and keep even more children out of school.
In Kita, Mali where traditional gender norms can often define girls’ roles and responsibilities, the struggle to access clean water meant that many girls were held back from reaching their full potential. But now, thanks to Plan International Canada’s community sponsors, new water posts in schools and healthcare clinics are changing lives for many, including 10-year-old Hawa.
A fountain of hope
“We have drinking water in our school!” says Hawa with an excited smile. “I am very happy to attend the school to learn.”
Hawa is one of many girls benefitting from new water points that enable girls to collect clean water when they attend school. She also now also has a safe, comfortable environment to use the bathroom at school, thanks to 4 newly built blocks of gender-separate latrines. These latrines are equipped with proper hand-washing facilities, which will help reduce illnesses related to poor sanitation.
Hawa one day dreams of becoming a doctor. With Plan International’s work in bridging the divide between boys and girls in Kita by encouraging the community to work together, as well as by providing training for women and girls, this dream – and the dreams of many other children – might soon become a reality.
“Plan teaches us about the rights of children,” says Karim, Hawa’s father. “Despite our poverty, we must ensure health and the education of our children and protect them. We learn to view girls’ and boys’ rights the same. I now attach more importance to education of my daughters.”
You can help transform lives by becoming a Kita community sponsor.