VF + WaterAid: Improving the Lives of Thousands One Drop at A Time
While it may be hard to imagine, water scarcity is real. Very real for millions of people around the world. Many of them have been hit hard by the pandemic due to a lack of clean water to simply wash their hands.
The World Health Organization reports that 1 in 3 people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water. In addition, more than 7 billion people do not have safe sanitation services and basic handwashing facilities.
Many of these people live and work in areas where VF manufactures its products, including Cambodia.
While Cambodia has seen significant progress in rural water supply and sanitation over the last 15 years, only 25% of the population has access to safe water close to home. Over 35% of the population does not have access to handwashing facilities or knowledge of critical hygiene behaviors.
On a mission to improve the lives of one million people by 2025, VF’s Worker and Community Development (WCD) program partnered with WaterAid Cambodia to bring safe drinking water and sanitation to rural communities near VF manufacturing hubs in Cambodia.
WaterAid has been operating in Cambodia since 2014. WaterAid works build infrastructure like wells, taps and toilets so that communities have access to water, sanitation and hygiene. We then ensure these systems get regular maintenance, community training and buy-in as well as government investment and accountability to keep the water flowing, long after projects are complete.
Together, WaterAid and VF created the “Championing sustainable WASH for factory workers and communities” program in Cambodia.
Despite experiencing some COVID-19-related delays over the past 12 months, the WASH program made significant progress toward its goals and made significant contributions to COVID-19 response efforts and flood disaster relief in target communities and factories.
As a result, VF and WaterAid reached more than 44,000 people with WASH interventions in factories and surrounding communities and over 350,000 people with COVID-19 response efforts, including awareness campaigns, handwashing stations, and training on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Through the VF partnership, WaterAid continues to build its programs in Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Speu and will establish a program in Kandal Province. Over the next three years, the WASH program will reach a total of 206,459 people in Kampong Speu, Kandal, and Kampong Chhnang Provinces.
March 22, 2021 is World Water Day, a day dedicated to celebrating water and raising awareness of the global water crisis. A core focus of the observance is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030. To learn more about WaterAid or to donate today, visit wateraid.org/us.
Images courtesy of WaterAid.