3 ways water affects education
Clean water increases gender equality
Sounds like specious reasoning? When there is limited access to water, guess who gets stuck travelling with it? Women. By and large, it’s women who collect water that is used for drinking, cooking and cleaning. According to UNICEF, only 58% of the African population live within 30 minutes of accessible water with 19% of females spending 1-3 hours every day to fetch water. It’s no wonder many women don’t have the time to attend classes.
Oaktree’s Girl’s Education Initiative (GEI) scholarship program combats a shortage of domestic resources by providing support to the families of female students. This includes funding livestock projects (such as chickens and pigs) that provide families with an income so that daughters can attend school without worrying about their family’s financial concerns. More info here.
Clean water increases health outcomes
How can anyone go to school if they’re not feeling well? Sadly, this goes well past the issue of dehydration. When water needs to be collected, it poses serious health threats to children. According to lifewater.org, 443 million school days are lost annually because children become sick from waterborne diseases. When children are sick, malnourished and dehydrated, school becomes the least of concerns as families are left with no choice but to spend up to half their income treating infections.
Clean water creates better classroom participation
Approximately half of all schools in developing nations do not have sanitation services. When services are available, there are tremendous benefits for pupils: the enrolment rate of female students can increase by up to 15%. This is strongly linked to a girl’s menstruation cycle because without safe, dignified places to dispose of hygiene products, many girls elect to spend time away from school each month.