Woman using our water station in market
Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

our hygiene and water stations

Find out where in the world our water stations have been installed and the impact they are having on families in Brazil and Mexico

 

By EMMA ELMS
8 February 2021

Without access to clean running water, stopping the spread of COVID-19 is near impossible. What’s more, scientists have discovered the new variants of COVID, including one that originated in Brazil, are even more infectious than the first one that started the pandemic.

According to UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, 29% of people across the globe don’t have access to clean water at home*, denying them a basic human right. Handwashing is the simplest and most effective method of protecting yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19. With this in mind, #TOGETHERBAND and Harpic are leading a coalition of partners to build water and hygiene stations for the world’s most vulnerable communities.

Hands with outdoor tap

Image: Shutterstock

Water saves lives

Our work kicked off last year in Brazil, where so far we’ve installed five water stations, providing families with long-term access to running water and helping change lives in the process. We partnered with UN Global Compact Brazil who advised us on where our water stations would have the most impact, in a country which has already seen over 200,000 deaths from COVID-19, making it one of the worst affected places in the world.

 

One of the areas identified as most at risk was the city of Belo Horizonte in the South-east of Brazil where we installed our first water station in December, a permanent solution plumbed into the mains water supply. Here one in 20 people don’t have access to drinking water and 2150 homes don’t have a bathroom.

Family with our water station in Brazil

Family with our water station in Brazil

‘This water station is very important to our community,’ one resident Paula Silva, a community co-leader and mother, told us afterwards. ‘This is a place with no regular access to water, so this water station at the entrance of the community is extremely helpful. It helps a lot in protecting our health during a time of coronavirus. Thank you, you are helping to save many lives.’

Carlo Pereira, Executive Director of UN Global Compact, emphasised that during the COVID crisis our water stations play a vital role in terms of health education. ‘They will raise awareness among adults, but mainly among children, of the importance of good hygiene and handwashing to prevent germs and diseases, but now with a focus on the pandemic. With your donations we hope to install more water and hygiene stations.’

Mexico's water crisis

Continuing our global activation of UN Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, next we’re also shining a spotlight on Mexico, a country where over half the population doesn’t have access to clean water at home* according to the World Health Organisation and UNICEF. It’s no coincidence that without safe water to drink, let alone for washing hands, Mexico is another of the countries worst affected by COVID.

Woman using our water station in market

In the Central Market, the largest in Mexico, and one of the biggest wholesale markets in the world, improving sanitation is crucial in the fight against COVID-19. #TOGETHERBAND, Harpic, the Red Cross and Rotoplas (a Mexico company offering water-based solutions) are joining forces to tackle this issue. So far, we’ve built two handwashing stations in the market’s hotspots, with ambitious plans for over 20 more, showing our long-term commitment to improving hygiene. Two anti-bacterial gel dispensers have also been installed, along with face masks and packs of hand gel being given out to workers and shoppers by a team of Red Cross volunteers.
 
Marcela Villegas Silva, General Coordinator of the market, says, ‘Water is essential, but sometimes it is a scarce resource. Education is key. I think after this, we are going to change our cleaning culture. Thank you for the help and support you’re giving to the Central Market’s community.’

Lack of clean water is a truly global problem that can seem insurmountable but there are things we can all do, right now. By taking the #TogetherForHealth pledge and choosing a small action, you’ll be helping to spark global change without even leaving your desk.

*According to figures we’ve interpreted on ‘safely managed water’ from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF.

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