Since the dawn of history, faith has provided a foundation from which social norms develop. It is to faith leaders that billions are drawn to in times of joy and sorrow, as well as in the search for inner meaning. As teachers to the masses, the words of faith leaders motivate, persuade and enable. Through their speech and actions, they can bring about change in ways that others, quite simply, cannot.
An estimated 5 billion people across the world are members of religious communities, underscoring the critical role religious leaders can play in addressing seemingly intractable problems – such as access to safe water and sanitation.
GIWA envisions a water-secure world in which safe and sustainable drinking water and improved sanitation will be accessible for all.
“Throughout history, religious leaders have implored their congregations and followers to ‘love thy neighbour’ and to refrain from acts of violence. In our world today, however, that is no longer enough. Today, our religious leaders have come together to say that permitting our brothers and sisters across the world to suffer and perish due to lack of safe, clean, sufficient water is also violence, and it is our duty to work together to ensure access to water and sanitation for all people, of all religions and all cultures.” – Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji
The Global Interfaith WASH Alliance brings together the world to ensure information is shared and policies are secured so that all may have access to improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
Our on-the-ground programmes concentrate in India, which is home to the most people in the world who live without access to improved sanitation (814 million). Additionally, 97 million people in India are still not able to access improved drinking water.
Mainly due to poor water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), India leads the world in the numbers of deaths of children under the age of five. Many of these tragic deaths could have been prevented.
To ensure the survival and bright futures of our children, the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance of India is harnessing the power of religion to educate and promote stewardship of water resources, and to bring about safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
GIWA was founded with the realization that it is to faith leaders that people turn in times of joy and sorrow. And it is to faith leaders that billions of people come to when seeking advice or moral direction. By joining together, great strides can be made so that all can realize a more just and sustainable future in which everyone, everywhere has access to safe and healthy Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.
GIWA works with leaders and policy makers from across India and around the world to advocate for improved access to safe, healthy and sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for all. We also produce informative policy papers and publications that delve deeply into pressing issues, such as sustainable development and the rejuvenation of key water sources, including the Ganga and Yamuna Rivers.
In addition, GIWA is spearheading the National Ganga Rights Campaign and has co-authored a draft National Ganga River Rights Act, which, if passed into law, would be the first in India that grants a river the same rights to exist and thrive as a person would have.