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Water is a human right

At any given moment across the world, more than 663 million people are drinking water that could be contaminated, yet don’t have any other real option.

The challenge seems overwhelming, but the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is helping more communities than ever before gain access to clean water.

During Youth 2015, participants had an opportunity to step into one of the many types of latrines which UMCOR helps to build. ~umcor photo/ Mike Barbee
During Youth 2015, participants had an opportunity to step into one of the many types of latrines which UMCOR helps to build. ~umcor photo/ Mike Barbee

During 2015, WASH funded 18 local partners in 15 countries. Why does WASH work through partners? Because local faith-based organizations, foundations, and community groups are highly knowledgeable about the needs surrounding them. They help locate new water points, construct latrines, and offer educational programs promoting hand-washing and other potentially lifesaving practices.

“This is an unprecedented time for the UMCOR WASH program,” said Mike Barbee, the program’s technical officer. “Thanks to our supporters, we hope to work with more partners and reach more communities in 2016.”

Where does a contribution to WASH go? UMCOR WASH distributes these funds based on needs across the world. Funding goes from UMCOR into the hands of capable WASH partners who accompany and empower families and communities to identify their water, sanitation, and hygiene behavior goals and decide solutions that will ensure continued access to clean water and healthy disposal of waste. With local and national support, WASH partners are able to harmonize programs with local economies, which helps people immediately and over the long term.

Visit the UMCOR WASH website and learn how access to clean water impacts communities many positive ways.

“This year, more than ever, we want church members to share their resources to impact WASH activities,” Barbee said.

WASH’s priority is to help people most in need of sustainable access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene. UMCOR regularly works with its WASH partners to share ideas for best practices so the global WASH movement is constantly strengthened at the community level. UMCOR also carefully monitors and evaluates WASH activities, demonstrating impacts and needs to supporters.

“Water is a human right,” said Barbee. “We at UMCOR are able to find and then rely on capable partners who work with people on the ground to help them address their needs in a participatory way. As we expand, we hope our supporters will help fund even more projects that truly help people have access to a basic requirement of life.”

by SUSAN KIM, United Methodist Committee on Relief

Last Updated on December 15, 2023

The Michigan Conference