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Sanitation and Hygiene in Asia

Nearly 1.8 billion people in Asia still lack access to proper sanitation and nearly 700 million people still lack access to potable water. Plan International is working across the Asia to ensure all children have clean drinking water and can live in a clean and sanitary environment.

From making soap in Sri Lanka, to building toilets in schools in Timor-Leste, Plan International is working across the region to ensure all children have access to clean water and toilets. 

Safe drinking water and hygienic sanitation are necessary for the survival and development of children and youth as well as the economic well-being of their families and communities.

Collecting water is a task that is usually the responsibility of women and children, and Plan International is building taps close to homes so that children have more time to study and to play and they no longer have to make frequent, and sometimes dangerous journeys to collect water.

Our Water and Sanitation teams have created hygiene clubs in schools where students have learnt the importance of washing their hands - one of the most simple things they can do to stay healthy and avoid the spread of preventable diseases.

We are also building and renovating toilets in schools so they are child-friendly, provide privacy and encourage children, especially girls to stay at school.

Plan International is working with governments, partners and communities to make homes and schools more healthy places for all children. 

Nine year old Ludivina lives in a small village in the mountains of Timor-Leste. With her 6 and 7 year old siblings she would wake each morning at dawn and take their bottles down a steep cliff to collect water from the river. Each round trip takes one hour, and she sometimes made this trip three times per day.

I don’t want my children to be collecting water – it makes them so tired,” says Ludivina’s father, but he knows it’s the best way for her to help with the long list of household chores. And, as a girl her age, it is natural for the responsibility to be placed on her tiny shoulders.

Around the world, an estimated 200 billion hours are lost to water collection every year.

And in many rural communities, like Ludivina’s hometown, it’s the responsibility of women and young girls. 

Ludivina and her siblings at the new tap in their village.

Plan International installed a water pump in Ludivina's village. “When I heard that I don’t have to collect water because of the water pump, I was so happy!” she says. “Now I have time to play with my friends, go to school and sing!” 

The water tap is having a huge impact on Ludivina’s life and her family’s, too. Now, they have water for cooking and cleaning and they can tend to their vegetable patch.

“Safe access to clean water is essential, yet many families around the world are still missing out on this basic right,” says Hilda Winartasaputra, Plan International’s Regional Water, Sanitation and Health Specialist in Asia.