Global Poverty Project – Global Earth Day

Date: 1st May 2015

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On Saturday, April 18th a quarter of a million people came together on the National Mall in Washington to build momentum towards a world without extreme poverty, to protect the planet, to stop climate change, and to enjoy some fabulous performances from world-famous bands. Some of the world’s most influential leaders made huge commitments policy and financial commitments.

WSSCC Executive Director Chris Williams explains how WASH helps improve health and women’s empowerment as a ‘strategic multiplier’, calling to make it a political priority and fund water and sanitation programmes.

Some of the WASH highlights from the day included:

The Government of the Netherlands committed to double the number of people they have reached with water and sanitation efforts. The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen said: “Ten years ago, we set ourselves a target and we gave 30 million poor people safe water and 50 million people clean toilets. Today, I am doing it again, I am setting another target. Let’s do another 30 and another 50.”

Her Excellency Gertrude Maseko Mutharika, First Lady of Malawi called on world leaders to sign the Women on Water and Sanitation Declaration

 “This Declaration calls on the global community to commit, both financially and politically, to improve the lives of the people of Malawi, and the world, through water and sanitation. We can do this by increasing access to safe, clean water and sanitation. This is why I am humbled to be the first woman to sign the Women for Water and Sanitation Declaration.”

Access to water and sanitation for women and girls is a major global issue. It affects their lives in surprising ways: if a girl doesn’t have a safe place to go to the bathroom at school, she’s much more likely to drop out. This is doubly important when she begins to reach the age of puberty.

Where access to clean water is also an issue, it’s almost always women and girls who are tasked with travelling to collect water for their families. This translates to140 million hours a day of time that could be spent doing more productive activities. 

With any luck, this call to action will help to improve the lives and education opportunities for women and girls in Malawi.

The event featured performances by stars such as singer/songwriter Train, Usher, Mary J. Blige, My Morning Jacket and Fall Out Boy.

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