World Water Day

World Water Day (WWD) 2020

WWD aims to highlight the importance of water and raise awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. It is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis. A core focus of WWD is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Water and Sanitation for all by 2030.

On a normal day, the world would be pushing for stakeholders to rethink access to safe drinking water, particularly for those left behind. This includes girls and women whose lack of access to water limits their potential in all aspects of life. Further, Persons with Disability (PwDs) also get disproportionately affected by the lack of disability friendly water access points.

According to the United Nations SDG 6 portal, at least 29 % of the world’s population has no access to a safely managed drinking water service. A safely managed drinking water service is defined as an improved drinking water source that is located on the premises and available when needed, and free of fecal and priority chemical contamination. 

In Kenya, only 59 percent of Kenyans have access to basic water services.

However, with the ongoing Corona-virus disease (COVID 19) global crisis, this year’s advocacy around SDG 6 experiences a complete shift of priorities. Now more than ever is hand washing facilities and the availability of water, crucial. Studies suggest that corona-viruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment). Thus, hand hygiene particularly, the simple 40 second hand washing, is essential to containing the spread of COVID-19.

While more than half of the world’s population has access to safe water, the remaining global 29 % and 41 % in Kenya completely shifts our focus. These could include persons living in informal settlements and living in the streets. Now, bearing in mind the highly contagious characteristic of the novel corona virus, if the 29 % and 41 % lack access to water, then it means that every single person’s risk of infection is high. Additionally, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are currently costly for the 29 % and 41% and thus, are out of question. Further, while social distancing flattens the COVID 19 infection curve, those living in informal settlements and in the streets are unable to afford the space and time off work. This is because, majority of informal settlements are heavily crowded and their income generating activities require constant contact.

Thus, this year, as access to clean water becomes even more critical in the current context of the COVID 19 with proper hand washing with soap & water as the most effective & cheapest form of controlling the COVID 19, lets continue to push for 100 % access to water and sanitation facilities especially for women, girls, persons with disabilities and people living in the streets and informal settlements.

Happy World Water Day!

Photo: Courtesy




Olive Kabisa