Our Areas of Focus

Water & Sanitation

The global goal to halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water (part of Millennium Development Goal 7) has been met five years ahead of schedule.1 Certainly cause to celebrate, but we still have a long way to go. 780 million people—11% of the world's population—are without access to safe drinking water,2 and regional disparities are stark—more than 40% of all people globally who lack access to drinking water live in sub-Saharan Africa.3 And, the second part of this target—to halve the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation—remains off track. Currently, 2.5 billion people are without improved sanitation4 (access to latrines and hygienic waste disposal)… Read more.

We turn on the tap in the privacy of our own home and have clean water instantly. Many women and children in poor rural communities spend 3-4 hours per day fetching small amounts of contaminated water for their families. In many schools, children take alternate mornings off classes to collect water for both school and home, thus missing valuable learning time. Family members, especially children, are regularly ill from water-borne diseases (e.g. parasitic worms, diarrhoea, skin and eye diseases). Much productive time is wasted carrying water—an activity that itself often results in physical injury (e.g. back injuries, hernia, miscarriages). In order for this situation to improve, people must have access to safe water from points closer to their homes and have opportunities to learn about hygiene practices, including safe excreta disposal and hand washing.

TEAR partners work with people living in poverty to improve their access to water and sanitation, and the practice of good hygiene, in a number of ways:

  • Drilling boreholes and sinking wells
  • Constructing gravity-fed systems to pipe water from mountain streams
  • Harvesting rain water off roofs and storing it in tanks
  • Access to training and materials to enable communities to build latrines
  • Providing access to household water filters or setting up businesses to produce them locally
  • Hygiene and sanitation education and promotion
  • Training in water scheme maintenance and support for Water Users' Committees and staff of relevant government departments
  1. WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme, Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation: 2012 Update, New York 2012.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.

Related Projects:

How Far Has Cambodia Come?

“Ascend to the realm of the gods, Angkor Wat. Descend into hell at Tuol Sleng Prison. With a history both inspiring and depressing, Cambodia delivers an intoxicating present.” 

So reads the introduction to the Lonely Planet guide to Cambodia. It’s possibly an accurate description of the hyperreal experience of international tourism, but do Cambodians themselves experience an intoxicating present? Just how far has Cambodia come in reconciling its brutal post-colonial history to forge a new future?

I recently visited TEAR’s partners in Cambodia, as they work to build a better tomorrow for the…

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How Far Has Cambodia Come?

Safe Water, Ethiopia

This little girl lives in Mesreta, Southern Ethiopia. Her mum Gardise is on the committee of the water users’ group, which looks after the borehole in her village. She’s excited to be given a rare chance to splash fresh water on her hands and grab a drink, as children aren’t normally allowed near the borehole, due to it being such a precious resource.

Before the borehole was constructed by TEAR’s partner, the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church, community members had to go to the river to collect water. Because the river water wasn’t clean, they had to dig in the sand on the riverbank to try to…

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Safe Water, Ethiopia

Mozambique - Hopes for Tomorrow

Mozambique is one of the world’s poorest countries. 44% of children under the age of five are malnourished and there are high levels of maternal and child mortality. Only 43% of the population have access to safe water and just over 11% of the adult population is HIV positive. And yet despite these statistics, people have hope. Hope for their children, hope for their families, hope for a day when things will be different. TEAR partners with Oasis and World Relief in Mozambique. Watch this video, hear their “Hopes for Tomorrow”, and stand with them in prayer and solidarity today.

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Mozambique - Hopes for Tomorrow

Hope and Opportunity in Laos

It’s not enough to just live; everyone deserves to have the opportunity to live to their full potential.

Keo Chan, her husband and three children were only just getting by.

With little money, they moved in with Keo’s family and shared a small house with two other families. There was not enough rice to go around, and Keo and her husband had to travel to another village to work to feed their family. There was no extra income for daily expenses, like school fees or medicine. If emergencies came up, there was no safety net.

Since TEAR’s partner, World Concern Laos, has been working with…

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Hope and Opportunity in Laos

Empowering Women in Nepal

Women's Self-Help Group

Enable local women to join forces against poverty, as they learn literacy and numeracy skills, save money, start small businesses and grow in confidence and independence.

“Together we can change anything.”

Everyone used to pass through Magma’s Ward 3, in Rukum District, Nepal, as quickly as they could. Among the cluster of houses built on either side of the road, there wasn’t a single toilet.

If you visit Ward 3 now, you’re in for a surprise. It’s one of the cleanest, tidiest villages along the road. Every house has a toilet, many of them big enough to serve as…

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Empowering Women in Nepal

Water: The Gift of Life

Basic water and sanitation facilities can help transform communities, improving health and reducing disease. In the area of Nkayi in Zimbabwe, TEAR partner HEFO (Health, Education and Food Organisation) is working to improve access to clean, safe water for local communities. This has involved digging boreholes like this one and rehabilitating water points, so that people no longer have to travel long distances to collect water.

The borehole pictured is next to a conservation farming site. The main aim of the borehole is to help the women to be able to water their maize plot and vegetable…

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Water: The Gift of Life

Community Development Program: Safe Water

Safe water

Poor quality water can lead to health issues and illness that prevents people from living a full life, participating in activities education and earning a living.

Having safe water makes a huge difference to communities living in poverty overseas, enabling them to lead happier and healthier lives.

Simple changes improve health in Afghanistan

The Afghanistan we hear about in the news is one of conflict and insecurity, but for the people living there, there is more to the story. Most are struggling with basic issues like finding clean water to drink or having access to adequate…

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Community Development Program: Safe Water

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TEAR Australia is a Christian development, relief and advocacy organisation responding to global poverty and injustice. More >

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