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Every day in rural communities in Nigeria, millions of people suffer from a lack of access to clean, safe water. For school-aged children, it’s a burden that traps them in poverty and poor health.

663 million people in the world live without clean water. That’s nearly 1 in 9 people worldwide. The majority live in isolated rural areas and spend hours every day walking to collect water for their family. Not only does walking for water keep children out of school or take up time that parents could be used to earn money, but the water often carries diseases that can make everyone sick.

But access to clean water means education, income and health, especially for women and children. Clean water helps keep children in school, especially girls, That means Less time collecting water means more time in class. Clean water and proper toilets at school mean teenage girls don’t have to stay home for a week out of every month.

Lack of clean water has serious effects on students’ academic performance and attendance rates. The lack of safe water can cause even the best students to lose momentum as they deal with stomach pains and diarrhea from disease and hunger.

Students miss class to go fetch water, or to care for sick parents or siblings as a result of waterborne related diseases.

For girls, the situation is especially troublesome. If schools do not have proper toilets, girls drop out once they reach puberty. Further, it is typically the responsibility of the women to fetch water thus limiting their access to both education and business opportunities. Women and young girls walk a long distance to fetch dirty water for domestic use. This leaves little time for education which is critical to changing the long term prospects of developing nations.

With the many additional burdens that a lack of clean water brings, education simply becomes less of a priority. This sets up an unfortunate cycle of poverty and inequality as, without proper education, there is little chance of improving one’s situation later in life.

You can change this; Give water and improve education