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On World Water Day ARC launches the Faith, Schools & Water initiative

March 22, 2010:

There are water shortages throughout Nairobi. For many, the water provided at school is their only access to drinking water.

To coincide with the UN's World Water Day, 22 March 2010, we are delighted launch our dedicated website on Faith Schools & Water www.waterschools.org.

The website, which is still being added to, will focus on the faiths protecting water sources, promoting clean water, good sanitation and excellent hygiene practices through faith schools around the world.

Linking faith with water facilities and school toilets does not sound like an obvious step, yet it is critical.

Water is central to many religions: as the source of life, it often represents birth and rebirth. It cleans the body, and by extension purifies it, and these two main qualities confer a highly sacred status on water. This is reflected in the way people use water, in the way they design water systems and the need for accessibility of water for cleansing after toilet use or washing hands.

Water provision for drinking, hand washing, flushing, cleaning, school meal preparation and the provision of clean toilets and urinals in schools are vital to keep children healthy. Anybody with children in school knows that schools are places where children get infected. They are places where many children gather in often cramped spaces with limited ventilation, bad hygienic conditions, no hand washing. And whatever the habits they learn in school, whether good or bad, are often the habits that stay with them throughout their lives, and are passed on to their own children.

Faith Schools & Water is a branch of ARC. It has been set up as a direct result of the inaugural Faith in Water meeting in Salisbury in July 2009, organised jointly by the Dutch Ecological Management Foundation (EMF), ARC, and the International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC).

FSAW has been co-initated by ARC and EMF, and is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Norwegian Government's Environment and Sustainable Development Programme.



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