World Water Week 2022: Focus on Climate Change

Each year during World Water Week, development organizations, companies, government agencies and other stakeholders come together to discuss one topic: water. A topic that has become more important than ever in a time of unprecedented drought. Plan International will be there again this year. We draw attention to the enormous impact of climate change on girls and women.

During the August 25 session in Stockholm, colleagues from Plan International Indonesia will present an example of our work within the WASH SDG consortium, which includes SNV, Plan International and WAI* (WASH Alliance International). In this partnership, we are working to sustainably improve sanitation and access to clean and safe drinking water in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nepal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Read also: Children’s rights organizations are sounding the alarm: 8 million children are at risk of dying of starvation

Climate Change Impact

Climate change has a significant impact on access to clean drinking water and sanitation. Extreme weather conditions such as heavy rains and floods pollute water sources and make toilets unusable. Vulnerable and marginalized groups, including girls and people with disabilities, are severely affected by the effects of climate change.

Clean (drinking) water is essential to hygiene and good health

Travel further to get clean drinking water

Girls and women have to travel farther to get clean drinking water, with all the risks that entail. Rising water levels make access to clean sanitation more difficult for people with disabilities, who rely, for example, on handrails and non-slippery ground from mud. During disasters caused by extreme weather, sanitation facilities are often not available for those on menstruation.

Plan International addresses these diverse issues by developing comprehensive action plans. We do this with governments, businesses and the most vulnerable groups who are most affected.

Comprehensive climate-resistant toilets

Indonesia is struggling with increasing torrential rains and floods in recent years, due to the climate crisis. As a result, public toilets in villages, which are often located outside, are regularly flooded. Plan International Indonesia has taken measures to make these toilets accessible to everyone, even after inclement weather. This is part of their WINNER WASH SDG program, which focuses on climate-resilient solutions for clean and accessible drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.

Read more here about what Plan International is doing in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Adriana couldn’t use the toilets

At World Water Week, Plan International Indonesia told Adriana’s story. Adriana lives with her daughter in Raylor Tahak, a village that has been flooded regularly in recent years. As a result, toilets are often not used in the village: Adriana has a disability that makes it difficult for her to move around in muddy and slippery ground. The toilets were low to the floor, so they overflowed quickly during the flood.

Universal toilets are a big help, I’m no longer afraid of falling

A toilet that meets Adriana’s needs

Plan International Indonesia looked at Adriana’s needs and then developed a plan to build more comprehensive latrines in the village. In cooperation with the local Association of Persons with Disabilities and the local government, Plan International Indonesia has built latrines above the average flood water level. They have also become toilets that you can sit on instead of a squat toilet. Adding handrails makes toilets accessible to everyone, even if the floor is slippery.

Adriana and her son in the toilet
Adriana is happy with the new toilet. Image credit: Vinsensius Kia Beda, from local partner organization Pijar Timur

Adriana: “The universal toilet helps a lot. There is actually a handrail in front of the toilet that I can use when it’s slippery outside. I don’t have to squat anymore, so I’m no longer afraid of falling.”

* Simavi, WaSte, Amref, Akvo, RAIN, Wetlands International, IRC, Practica, Ruaf

Leave a Comment