World Water Day: Life changing water projects through youth

22nd March 2018

It’s World Water Day – A day to focus on the importance of water. Limited access to safe water and poor hygiene practices affect millions, causing poor health and stopping people from attending school or work. Our vision is to put young people right at the heart of safe water, sanitation and good hygiene.

Before reading any further, take a moment to think of all the times today you have used water. You have most likely brushed your teeth, washed your face, flushed the toilet and there is a high chance you are sitting with a drink reading this. Water impacts on every element of our lives.

Today, 2.1 billion people around the world live without access to safe drinking water at home. In Sabah, 59% of people in rural communities do not have access to a reliable source of clean and safe water; affecting their health, education and livelihoods.

“Back home, we take our access to water for granted. Living in these villages you could see how hard it is to collect water. To be able to have access to clean safe water will be life changing.” Cazz, Volunteer Project Manager.

Ram pump instalment in WASH project site in Kampung Tikalod.

Raleigh Borneo has been running water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects in Sabah for over 30 years. During this time Raleigh Borneo projects have provided access to reliable, safe and clean water sources, and improved sanitation facilities to over 80 communities in Sabah.

Deputy Operations Manager Laura explains that “providing villages with a sustainable and reliable source of clean water means for the first time in some people’s lives they are not having to really think about where their water is coming from. Every village is different. It is sometimes hard for people to understand just how little these communities have.”

Did you know that poor water, hygiene and sanitation is grouped as the number one cause of hospitality and mortality of children under five? Laura states, “It’s not just about making life a little bit more comfortable for people living in these communities, it’s the fact access to clean and safe water and improved sanitation which means people get sick less frequently and have more stable lifestyles. The children in the villages miss less school and their parents are able to work more and earn money for their families.”

Team work and human chains all add to the effectiveness and enjoyment of the project.

The projects Raleigh Borneo run aim to achieve long lasting sustainable change in communities by running awareness raising sessions which promote healthy and hygienic behaviours. As well as this, the volunteers and project partners work with the community to set up WASH committees. The WASH committees are briefed on how to maintain and fix the infrastructure provided.

This expedition, Raleigh Borneo is undertaking two WASH projects in Sabah. Read more about the project in Kampung Tikalod here. Read more about the project in Kampung Teliduson here.


Words by Communications Officer Rebecca Raab.

Photography by Photographer Daniel Buttifant.

Contact any of our volunteers by completing the linked contact form. We will pass your messages and words of encouragement on to the volunteers during our project loops.

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