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Solving water problems in developing countries

For Australians, access to safe, clean water is as easy as turning on a tap. But for millions of children around the world, it is an exhausting and sometimes dangerous daily journey.

Today, 2.1 billion people live without safe drinking water at home. For children, this not only impacts their health and wellbeing, but can be detrimental to their education and future prospects.

Every day more than 1,400 children under the age of five die from diarrhoea. More than half of these deaths are due to inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene.

ChildFund works in partnership with developing communities that do not have access to clean water to find solutions that will be safer for children and their families.

Here are some of the ways these communities around the world are solving their water problems.

Fog Traps in Laos

Fog traps have provided an overnight solution to water problems during dry season in parts of Laos.

In the villages of Nonghet in northern Laos, a two-hour walk to get water can be deadly.

Laos has one of the world’s highest rates of unexploded bombs and the villages of Nonghet are among the country’s most dangerous.

Thankfully, many children no longer have to risk their lives for water.

ChildFund’s Global Community Youth Ambassadors and supporters came together to develop a range of solutions to water shortages. The best idea? To capture fog from the sky, and turn it into drinking water.

Remarkably, on the first night of operation, the fog water traps collected more than 50 litres of drinkable water.

Now, Youth Ambassadors are looking at scaling up this initative to generate even more water for families in Nonghet.

Find out more about how you can help children in Laos.

Tippy Taps in Papua New Guinea

Tippy Taps encourage good hygiene, which keeps children healthy

Serious shortages of clean water and unsafe hygiene practices mean that waterborne disease continues to threaten the lives of children in Papua New Guinea.

To promote good hygiene and reduce the number of children getting sick ChildFund has built toilets in villages and introduced tippy taps.

These easy-to-maintain devices can promote good hygiene almost anywhere in the world and are especially handy where there is no running water.

To create a tippy tap, all you need is a few poles or long sticks, string, a water container and a little bit of soap.

In PNG, tippy taps have helped reduce childhood illnesses, ensuring children are healthy and can stay in school. Find out more about how you can help children in Papua New Guinea.

Water filters in Cambodia

Six-year-old Chenda’s family is one of the many families who now have a water filter at home

In Chhloung district, Cambodia, 60% of households use unsafe water sources – most commonly, unboiled water from local creeks or open wells. Among children, this leads to diarrhoea, fevers and general poor health. But ChildFund supporters are helping to provide a simple and cost-effective solution.

Six-year-old Chenda’s family is one of the many families who now have a water filter at home, and her health has greatly improved as a result.

“Before having the water filter, I used to drink water from the creek and regularly got diarrhoea and a fever,” Chenda says. “Now, I drink clean water from the water filter and my health is much better.”

You can help a family like Chenda’s. Give a water filter today.

Wells in emergencies

Entire communities can access these easy-to maintain wells

People have been using wells for about 10,000 years. They are still one of easiest and most effective ways to ensure access to clean water, especially in remote areas.

In many rural communities without nearby access to clean, running water, ChildFund has constructed wells that provide a sanitary, easily accessible water source for the entire community.

These wells have been lifesavers across Africa, where climate change has resulted in prolonged and more frequent drought conditions, and millions of children in several countries are at increased risk of starvation because of food and water shortages.

Entire communities can access these easy-to maintain wells, meaning children do not have to walk for hours to collect water, and families don’t have to leave their homes during periods of drought.

They also provide a sustainable water source for years to come.

Find out how you can help children affected by the Africa Food Crisis.

Gravity water supply systems in Vietnam

Hundreds of families in remote mountainous villages in Vietnam now have access to safe, clean water.

In the remote area of Ngoc Dong commune in Cao Bang province, northern Vietnam, only 41 per cent of the population had access to clean water in 2015. Most families would collect water from natural sources or wells at their homes, which was often unclean and unsafe.

Since 2015 ChildFund has worked with local families to implement a gravity water supply system to ensure more households have access to clean water.

The system was designed to take advantage of the natural mountainous environment in the area, which allows water to be collected, treated and flow at high pressures from sources above to hundreds of homes below.

More than 450 households, three schools and a government office now have access to clean water every day.

Every household has installed a counter to calculate their water consumption, and pay the cost of about US$0.1 per cubic metres.

In addition to having access to clean and safe water, families have been trained on how to maintain the water supply system.

Village leader Quang, who helps operate the system, says everyone in the community has helped to ensure the system is a long-term solution to the water problem in the area.

“By being involved in the construction of the water supply system, the villagers now understand more about the availability of our own natural resources, the value of it and they are aware of how to keep it sustainable,” he says.

Find out more about how you can help children and their families in Vietnam.

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