Why Walk for Water?

This March and April over 1300 students throughout Ireland are Walking for Water in solidarity with their peers in the developing world.

The World Walks for Water and Sanitation is a global event demanding universal access to water and sanitation across the world.

In 2014 over 600,000 people in over 40 countries took part in this global action calling for an end to the water and sanitation crisis which kills almost 2,000 children every day.

For more information on the Walk for Water campaign contact- info@aidlink.ie or 01 473 6488

Check out some of Aidlink’s Development Education learning resources about water:


Water as a Human Right

On 28 July 2010, through Resolution 64/292, the United Nations General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realisation of all human rights.

According to the United Nations…

  • The water supply for each person must be sufficient and continuous for personal and domestic uses. These uses ordinarily include drinking, personal sanitation, washing of clothes, food preparation, personal and household hygiene. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 50 and 100 litres of water per person per day are needed to ensure that most basic needs are met and few health concerns arise.
  • The water required for each personal or domestic use must be safe, therefore free from micro-organisms, chemical substances and radiological hazards that constitute a threat to a person’s health. Measures of drinking-water safety are usually defined by national and/or local standards for drinking-water quality. The World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for drinking-water quality provide a basis for the development of national standards that, if properly implemented, will ensure the safety of drinking-water.
  • Water should be of an acceptable colour, odour and taste for each personal or domestic use. All water facilities and services must be culturally appropriate and sensitive to gender, lifecycle and privacy requirements.
  • Everyone has the right to a water and sanitation service that is physically accessible within, or in the immediate vicinity of the household, educational institution, workplace or health institution. According to WHO, the water source has to be within 1,000 metres of the home and collection time should not exceed 30 minutes.
  • Water, and water facilities and services, must be affordable for all. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) suggests that water costs should not exceed 3 per cent of household income.

Water and The Global South 

  • In rural Sub-Saharan Africa millions of people share their domestic water sources with animals or rely on unprotected wells that are breeding grounds for pathogens.
  • The average distance that women in Africa walk to collect water is 6 kilometres.
  • Average water use ranges from 200-300 litres a person a day in most countries in Europe to about 12 litres in rural Uganda. People lacking access to improved water in developing countries consume far less, partly because they have to carry it over long distances and water is heavy. For the 884 million people or so people in the world who live more than 1 kilometre from a water source, water use is often less than 5 litres a day of unsafe water.
  • At any one time, close to half of all people in developing countries are suffering from health problems caused by poor water and sanitation. Together, unclean water and poor sanitation are the world’s second biggest killer of children. It has been calculated that 443 million school days are lost each year to water-related illness.
  • People living in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya pay 5 to 10 times more for water than those living in high-income areas in those same cities and more than consumers in London or New York.
  • In urban Kenya the cost of connecting to the utility represents about six months’ income for the poorest 20% of households.

Water and Gender

  • Research in sub-Saharan Africa suggests that women and girls in low-income countries spend 40 billion hours a year collecting water—the equivalent of a year’s worth of labour by the entire Work force in France.
  • In a survey of 45 developing countries, 12% of households reported that children carry the main responsibility for collecting water, with girls under 15 years of age being twice as likely to carry this responsibility as boys under the age of 15 years.
  • In Africa, 90% of the work of gathering water and wood, for the household and for food preparation, is done by women. Providing access to clean water close to the home can dramatically reduce women’s workloads, and free up time for other economic activities. For their daughters, this time can be used to attend school.
  • In Ghana, halving of water fetching time increases girls’ school attendance by 2.4 percentage points on average, with stronger impacts in rural communities.
  • In East Africa, a survey found school attendance to be 12 per cent higher for girls in homes located 15 minutes or less from a water source than in homes one hour or more away. Attendance rates for boys appeared to be far less affected by distance from water sources.
  • The basic requirement for a lactating women engaged in even moderate physical activity is 7.5 litres a day.
  • 70% of the world’s blind are women who have been infected, directly or through their children, with trachoma, a blinding bacterial eye infection occurring in communities with limited access to water.