Hunza, November 19, 2015: The United Nations observes World Toilet Day on November 19 to draw attention to the fact that 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to proper sanitation. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan (AKPBS,P) are launching a new Water and Hygiene Improvement Project to improve the quality of life in Murtazaabad, Hunza Valley.
The Water and Hygiene Improvement Project will install house and communal clean drinking water tap stands that meet World Health Organization standards. “Too many people lack dependable access to clean water, which puts them at risk of disease. We rely on water to grow food and to maintain our health. We hope improvements in water, sanitation and hygiene programs will save and improve lives,” USAID Mission Director John Groarke said.
Murtazaabad village has a population of 3,500, most of whom are children. The village includes 430 households with an average household income of PKR 3,000 a month, five schools, and other communal buildings. Currently the entire population accesses drinking water from open sources that are mostly contaminated. When temperatures drop below freezing in the winter, obtaining water becomes even more arduous and risky for women and young girls, who have to travel long distances to collect water.
The Water and Hygiene Improvement Project is a continuation of AKPBSP’s award-winning and internationally acclaimed Water and Sanitation Extension Programme (WASEP), which was first implemented in Gilgit, Baltistan and Chitral in 1997.
“The strategic partnership between USAID and AKPBSP will improve the quality of life of underserved communities in Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral, and will pave the way to support other communities in the area,” said Nawab Ali Khan, AKBPSP Chief Executive Officer.