Government failures on water, sanitation and education are undermining children`s chances of an education, especially that of girls, reveals a new WaterAid report, The
education drain, released for World Water Day on March 22.
104 million children worldwide don`t go to school and one of the main reasons is the lack of safe water and sanitation. Many children in Africa and Asia don`t have time for school because they have to walk miles every day to collect water from polluted sources.
The water they collect often brings disease to their communities resulting in millions more children being too sick to attend school.
The education drain shows how world governments are falling way behind on their Millennium Development promises to halve the proportion of people without access to safe water and sanitation by 2015*. It shows that, if they don`t achieve the water and sanitation targets, governments will undermine their education targets, also agreed in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs*).
WaterAid Director, Ravi Narayanan, says:
``In 2000 and 2002 the UK led the world in signing up to targets to reduce the billions of people without clean water and sanitation by 2015, yet progress has stalled. At the present rate, it will take Africa over 30 years to achieve the water target, while the sanitation target will never be met``.
``WaterAid recently launched a petition: Flush out poverty to insist that the British Government acts now on the massive need for clean water and sanitation in developing countries. To honour its own assessment of the MDGs` importance, the UK Government must double its funding for water and sanitation projects to 10% of its own aid budget. And it must demand that the international community also doubles its efforts as its part in raising an extra US 16 billion per year on water and sanitation. This is necessary to ensure the MDGs do not go down the pan.``
``That may sound a lot of money but when you consider that Europeans and North Americans spend more on pet food every year, you realise that the MDGs are achievable. All they require is the will of governments to live up to their promises to the world`s poorest people.``
The education drain features new research and case studies from WaterAid projects. New photographs are available, including those of Brent Stirton winner of two 2003 World Press Portrait Awards.Key facts from The Education Drain:
- More than 104 million children have no access to education. Millions more miss school frequently. Unsafe water and sanitation are a major cause.
- Girls are the worst affected: nearly a quarter of girls do not complete primary school compared with 15% of boys.