Water is a global issue. Around the world, one child dies every 15 seconds from diseases related to poor water supply, sanitation and hygiene. Most of the problems are caused by inadequate knowledge regarding the handling of drinking water, and the lack of access to improved drinking water sources and sanitation systems.
Consider these facts: 97.5 percent of the world’s water supply is seawater and only 2.5 percent is fresh water. The amount of water in the human body ranges from 50-75 percent. Clean fresh water is vital to human survival.
Based on the essential health needs of children in the school environment, World Vision Mongolia began implementation of the “Water supply, sanitation and hygiene in Mongolian secondary schools” project. The project provides support to the school administration, local community and government in making decisions on a local level for improving water, sanitation and hygiene conditions in schools. A survey was done to assess water and sanitation facilities in 26 schools from Uliastai, Tosontsengel, Shiluustei and Otgon villages of Zavkhan province; province center, Erdenetsogt and Ulziit villages of Bayankhongor province; and Amgalan and Dari-Ekh of Ulaanbaatar.
To the questions, “Are you able to drink water at school when you are thirsty?”
• 61 percent of students answered “No”
“How do you drink at school when you are thirsty?”
• 28 percent of the surveyed students answered they bring water from home
• 33.6 percent said they buy bottled water
• 9.8 percent said they drink tap water
• 26.3 percent said they drink water from water purification machine
• 2.2 percent answered they use all these sources of water
“Do your classmates or other students drink tap water at school?”
• 66.5 percent of students answered they never drink tap water
• 33.5 percent said they drink tap water rarely
Fifteen-year-old Enkhtsetseg Delgersaikhan shares, “It would be nice if we have drinking water at school! I don’t use the school toilet for everybody can see inside. If I need to use it, I run to my home!” She lives with her parents and her sibling in Ulaanbaatar.
Narantsetseg Sanduijav, World Vision’s Water and Sanitation specialist says, “Mongolia has enough water. Twenty percent of Mongolian water resource is underground and 80 percent is on the surface. Whilst other countries utilize recycled water for non-potable usage, such as toilet flushing and industrial activites, our country uses fresh water for everything, from drinking, to toilet flushing, cleaning, and for industries such as mining and manufacturing etc. World Vision is hoping to help rectify the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues in Mongolia, by conducting training on the importance of access to proper water supply, improved sanitation systems and hygiene, both on a household level, in addition to schools. We also work with communities to increase protection and security of major water sources; and repair and provide proper drinking water supplies, such as wells, to residents who were previously denied access. Our aim is to provide each Mongolian household with access to improved drinking water; to eliminate open defecation; and raise their hygiene awareness in the area of water and sanitation”
Let’s drink fresh water to live long and healthy!