In 2015, the world committed to safe water and sanitation for all by 2030 as part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. While progress has been made, we are not on track to reach this goal. Globally, 2.2 billion people still don’t have access to the water and toilets they need for happy, healthy lives.
World Water Day is an annual celebration that highlights the importance of water, but this year it is a call for action. At the current rate, governments need to work four times faster in order to bring water and toilets to everyone. In reality, governments cannot do this work alone. We need everyone to take action today so that we all have access to safe water for years to come.
Working with communities to address the water and sanitation crisis
At Surge, we work hand in hand with stakeholders at all levels in an effort to solve the water and sanitation crisis. This includes community members and organizations, government leaders, and more. With a community-led approach, we make sure that our solutions are impacting the people who need them most. Working with a variety of stakeholders ensures we listen to and include diverse voices. Doing so leads to a strengthened system where the local community and government can help ensure long-term success of the project.
We specifically work in very close collaboration with community-based organizations as they are intimately involved with the community. Together with these partners, we develop multi-year strategic plans, budgets, and make key decisions. As applicable, we support them with management oversight, knowledge sharing, technical advice, monitoring tools, and content and training for our signature education programs. Our long-term goal is to strengthen the capacity of our partners to ensure they can scale beyond our involvement.
Going beyond water and sanitation
Listening to community members, we realized that in order to truly solve the water and sanitation crisis there was also a need to focus on hygiene and menstrual health. Communities can gain access to water and toilets, but without handwashing facilities people will still fall sick. A well fix can allow girls to spend less time collecting water, but without knowledge on how to manage their menstruation they will still miss school on a monthly basis.
This is how Surge’s four pillars of work came to be – water, sanitation, hygiene, and menstrual health. Water is closely linked to access to toilets, handwashing, and menstrual health, and it is only by addressing all of these issues that we can truly have an impact on the global water and sanitation crisis.
Be the change
While our work requires the cooperation of various stakeholders, it simply isn’t enough. The world committed to providing clean water and safe sanitation for all by 2030, but right now we are seriously off track. We need to accelerate change so that everyone has access to the water and sanitation they deserve.
In order to solve the global water crisis, we need everyone to join hands and do what they can. In celebration of World Water Day, we are asking companies to partner with us to provide clean water and sanitation to those who need it most. By working together and listening to the communities where we work, we can have a direct impact on many lives.
\We’re also asking individuals to stand together and make a difference. It may often seem like your actions have little influence, but with a problem this big, small actions can add up quickly. Do your part by taking shorter showers; fixing leaking water pipes and appliances in your home; disposing of waste properly; and buying local, seasonal food. Call your elected officials and ask them to improve water quality at home and abroad. Donate $24 to provide a family in Indonesia with their own water filter.
With 2.2 billion people still in need of safe water, our actions will have profound effects. Join hands with us today to play your part and bring water to those who need it most.