Social impacts of rural water harvesting on girls

Women and girls continue to bear most of the burden of household activities, including water supply.

Une fille qui transporte de l'eau en RDC
UNICEF DRC Rice-Chudeau


The right to drinking water and basic sanitation have been recognized as fundamental rights by the international community. Access to safe drinking water is essential for a dignified life and is a prerequisite for the realization of other human rights.

In developing countries and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, people's access to safe drinking water and sanitation is hampered by geographical, economic and cultural factors, with significant gender inequalities. Women and girls in developing countries continue to bear most of the burden of household activities, including water supply. They spend up to 90% of their time performing domestic tasks, including water collection. The work of collecting water exposes these women and girls to physical and traumatic risks. They carry heavy containers (about 8 kg), often not adapted to their age and weight. Women and especially girls are exposed to physical, sexual, moral and psychological violence during water collection.

Many studies show that the hours spent collecting water reduce the time available for education, personal development and income-generating activities in households. The school performance of millions of girls is thus hindered, which can lead them to partially or totally stop their schooling. When this time exceeds 30 minutes, water collection is considered a chore and consequently the quantity collected is reduced.

Incidences sociales de la corvée de l’eau en milieu rural chez les filles en RDC
Forcier Consulting
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