As the world recognises World Water Day on 22nd March, UK-based charity Fields of Life is reminding people that 844 million people around the world still don’t have access to clean water.

For most, having access to clean drinking water is akin to having access to oxygen. It’s not a luxury or a difficulty – it’s just the norm. While we take having a clean water source for granted by just turning the tap, villagers across East Africa walk on average four miles per journey to collect water, often carrying up to 20kg. This exhausting task often falls to children, particularly young girls, who have to make the dangerous journey on a daily basis.

One-ninth of the world's population without clean water on World Water Day
Fields of Life’s ‘Water for Life’ campaign has helped bring clean water to thousands in East Africa

Fields of Life, which collaborates with local communities in East Africa to provide clean water, quality education, health promotion and other community-based projects, launched its ‘Water for Life’ campaign on World Water Day in 2015, with the aim to provide clean, safe drinking water to one million people by 2020.

In 2010 the charity acquired its own equipment and since then has trained up locals to operate the drilling rigs and provide WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) training in their communities, creating more than 750 wells so far and bringing clean water to hundreds of thousands of people.

One-ninth of the world's population without clean water on World Water Day
A community in Uganda now has clean water thanks to Fields of Life’s ‘Water for Life’ initiative

Debbie Cameron, head of fundraising and development at Fields of Life GB, said:

“The lack of available clean water in East Africa is deeply concerning and it’s hard to believe that in 2019, 844 million people still don’t have access to clean water – that’s approximately one-ninth of the world’s population.

“Providing a community with access to a clean, safe, water source does more than just reduce the number of water-related illnesses – it reduces the number of hours spent collecting water, which therefore allows children to attend school and gain a quality education, and also reduces the risk of attack on young girls who have to fetch water alone.”

One-ninth of the world's population without clean water on World Water Day
One-ninth of the world’s population is still without water

Since the inception of the organisation in Ireland in 1993, Fields of Life has raised approximately £30 million, which has allowed the team to build 124 schools and educate in excess of 50,000 children through its various other initiatives alongside the Water for Life campaign.

Fields of Life is a registered charity in the UK, Uganda, Ireland and USA, with its GB office opening four years ago in Kent.