Every drop is precious

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is committed to improving water and sanitation conditions for global communities.

The humanitarian organisation significantly impacts the lives of children and families by installing water basins and toilets for better access to clean water and improved sanitation. According to the United Nations, 3.5 billion people lack access to adequate toilets and 2.2 billion do not have safe drinking water.

“For over 40 years, ADRA water, hygiene and sanitation projects have impacted countless lives, from rural villages in Africa without access to safe drinking water to Asian towns afflicted by natural disasters,” said ADRA International’s director for Health, Nutrition and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) Josue Orellana.

“ADRA emphasises the critical role that clean water plays in enhancing children’s health and wellbeing, especially in disadvantaged communities. Lack of access to clean water and sufficient sanitation facilities can result in the spread of waterborne diseases and poor hygiene practices. By addressing these issues, ADRA contributes to the overall improvement of children’s health and quality of life.”

ADRA maximises its impact and ensures the sustainability of its projects in regions around the world, including Vanuatu, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo, by collaborating with local faith communities such as the Adventist Church, local communities, as well as government and humanitarian organisations.

According to the World Health Organisation, 1.4 million deaths could be prevented each year by improving access to safely managed water and sanitation. ADRA has been pioneering research to identify the source of waterborne diseases such as cholera and diarrhea among children in rural areas, despite access to clean water, toilets and routine handwashing. Scientists began watching children’s behaviours as soon as they awoke, paying great attention to what they touched, what they ate, and where they got their drinking water to determine where the contamination was coming from.

“We’re starting to realise that, especially for children under two, even when we provide them clean water and the home has access to a good toilet, a lot of the contamination comes from their living environment, specifically from child-mouthing behaviours,” explained ADRA International’s WASH technical advisor and program support Tinotenda Muvuti. 

“When the child places their hands in their mouth after coming into contact with the ground, or if they have a toy in their mouth, the germs they are ingesting simply come from being in a dirty environment. And that has to do with people not having latrines, which means high rates of open defecation. So, when it rains, that means that all of that matter is going to be swept close to where the child would normally play.”

On World Water Day (March 22) and throughout the year, ADRA urges all communities to join the movement to help create a world where every child and family can access safe, clean water and proper sanitation facilities.