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RESIDENTS AT THE THE KAHUMBA KANDOLA LOCATION IN THE GOREANGAB INFORMAL SETTLEMENT IN WINDHOEK ONE MORNING GOT A RUDE AWAKENING WHEN THEY DISCOVERED THAT - IN THE MIDDLE OF FEBRUARY--THERE WAS ONLY ONE TAP DRIPPING PITIFULLY. PANDEMONIUM BROKE OUT AS THEY WERE ALL CLAMOURING AND FIGHTING FOR THE FEW PRECIOUS DROPS. THE REASON STATED FOR THE WATER BEING TURNED OFF, WAS THE OILSPILLAGE INTO WINDHOEK'S WATER-TREATMENT PLANT. IN THE MEANTIME, THE ISSUE WAS SWEPT UNDER THE CARPET AND SEEM TO BE FORGOTTEN.

All human, animal and plant life hinges on the availability of water. About a quarter of the world's population does not have access to clean water and the people most affected by the lack of clean water are the poor, especially poor women and girls. Water shortage and inaccessibility of clean water make many social problems, such as national security, weak economies and civil unrest, worse.

How are women and girls affected more by the lack of clean water? In homes and homesteads where clean drinking water is not immediately accessible, the responsibility for water collection usually falls disproportionally on women and girls. Millions of women and girls all over the world, every day, spend millions of hours fetching clean or drinkable water. As if it is not enough, fetching water is not only hard work, it is also dangerous work, putting the body at risk. Pregnant women or women with small children have to carry the additional weight which in itself increase the danger and risk. Pregnant women could go into early labour or miscarriage, causing additional hardship for the families. Women and girls who carry water have to walk long distances and become vulnerable to physical and sexual assault. Women who have to collect and carry water are also at risk of contracting waterborne diseases. Not only do we need water to drink and wash, women also need water for menstruation hygiene and - management.

When water interruptions, like the one in Kahumba Kandola location, occur, it is usually poor women who have to bear the brunt of responsibility and consequence in their communities. As such, water and water hygiene is a women's--and human-rights issue and cities (municipalities) and governments should be held responsible for ALWAYS providing clean water. Next time there are elections, don't forget to check what your party is doing to ensure that water is not only available to all, but that it is also clean for all and that women's needs were at the centre of water politics in your community.

by Laura Sasman

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Title Annotation:the effect of a water shortage to poor women
Author:Sasman, Laura
Publication:Sister Namibia
Geographic Code:6NAMI
Date:Jan 1, 2019
Words:420
Previous Article:INTERNATIONAL WOMEN.
Next Article:PREGNANT AND BROKEN.
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