This guest post is the first in the series WASH & Women’s Health, which WASH Advocates is coordinating for the MHTF blog.
Access to clean water is not only one of the world’s most urgent health issues, but it is also a key to boosting progress in developing countries. Women and children are disproportionately affected by inadequate water, sanitation and, hygiene (WASH), and they shoulder the largest burden in collecting drinking water. What is more, when the needs of women and girls are not taken into account, the effects are felt far and wide, reaching across the education, health, security, and economic sectors. On the other hand, improving WASH can have positive impacts throughout a girl’s life, and can even extend across generations. As we know, when women thrive, so do their communities.
In this spirit, WASH Advocates is excited to collaborate with the Maternal Health Task Force to highlight the positive impact WASH and women. The blog series will be published ahead of International Women’s Day (March 8), World Water Day (March 22), and during this United Nations-designed International Year of Water Cooperation. The authors, who include colleagues involved in WASH programming around the world, will comment on the value of WASH through a woman’s life cycle and the extensive connections to health, economic empowerment, and education. I manage the women and girls portfolio for WASH Advocates and recently presented a poster on WASH and MNCH linkages at the Global Maternal Health Conference (GMHC2013) in Tanzania. My colleague, Lauren Herzer, of the Woodrow Wilson International Center also attended and penned a terrific blog post for the Maternal Health Task Force exploring the potential for synergies between WASH and maternal health efforts. In addition, I am pleased that this series will include blog posts from some of the many excellent partners I visited in Tanzania after the conference.
A nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy initiative, WASH Advocates strives to increase awareness of water, sanitation, and hygiene issues and solutions and to increase the amount and effectiveness of resources devoted to those solutions throughout the developing world. For more information about this topic and any of the posts, contact Rebecca at rfishman@WASHadvocates.org.