Water is essential for life, and yet, more than 30% of people around the globe cannot access safe drinking water, and over 40% lack proper sanitation. These factors lead to increasing disease and premature deaths. In sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, women walk for miles to get access to poor quality water for their families. Humanity First believes that access to safe water is a right, and not a privilege.
Humanity First's Water for Life programme ensures that villagers are given a sustainable clean water supply. HF works with partners such as Water Aid, Oxfam, Aquabox, WorldWaterWorks, EndWaterPoverty, Lifestraw and IAAAE. The approach and technology used varies depending on the context, size and spread of the population and the nature of the underlying geography. Humanity First has several approaches:
- Water Hand-Pumps: Africa and Asia have many rural villages where the population is typically between 500 to 2,000. For these areas, investment in heavy duty filtration systems is not economic. HF refurbishes or bores new wells using technology from India and Germany. So far over 1,050 hand-pumps have been installed in 18 countries serving over 1.1 million villagers. HF is working with partners on new innovative solutions using solar power to pump water to a gravity tank and feed several outlets across a village.
- Filtration Pumps: In metro areas, it is possible to install more heavy-duty water pumping and filtration plants. HF has installed such equipment in Brazil, Haiti and Pakistan serving over 1.2 million people.
- Sanitation: Where there is regular rainfall, HF can use rooftop collection systems to harvest water into tanks which can then be used for taps and sanitary purposes. Often this needs to be backed by education on the need for proper sanitation.
- Gravity Fed Systems: there are some areas such as Sierra Leone and Uganda where natural dams of water are held in the mountains. In these situations, HF can seal the source dam and pipe the water down to 4 or 5 villages using filtered taps to ensure safe water provision.
- Family Filtration Units: in the event of disasters, HF works with Rotary charities WorldWaterWorks, Aquabox and Lifestraw to provide family and personal water purification and filtration units such as a filtration water box or an individual filtration straw. These can filter river water to provide safe drinking water for over 12 months.
Water for Life is working in 18 countries, and has delivered significant programmes for over 50,000 villagers in countries such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Pakistan.
Humanity First is also a member of the End Water Poverty international coalition.