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Background information

Water is lifeĀ“s most basic human need. Sadly, there are over 700 millionpeople around the world who don't have access to clean water. Morethan half of the Kenyan population lives below the poverty line, and scarcity of water is spread all over the country. For many communities, water sources are usually far from their homes, and it typically falls to women and girls to spend much of their time and energy fetching water, a task which often exposes them to attack from men and even wild animals.

Annually, safe water could prevent around 1.4 million child deaths from diarrhoea, approximately 5,00,000 deaths from malaria, nearly 8,60,000 child deaths from malnutrition and closely 2,80,000 deaths from drowning. Additionally, around 5 million can be protected from lymphatic filariasis and another 5 million from trachoma.

When water comes from improved and more accessible sources, people spend less time and effort physically collecting it, meaning they can be productive in other ways. This can also result in greater personal safety by reducing the need to make long or risky journeys to collect water. Better water sources also mean less expenditure on health, as people are less likely to fall ill and incur medical costs, and are better able to remain economically productive.

With children particularly at risk from water-related diseases, access to improved sources of water can result in better health, and therefore better school attendance, with positive longer-term consequences for their lives.