Water supply and sanitation programmes have been central to most AKDN environmental health efforts. Programmes in sanitation and hygiene promotion are particularly important. In the Indian state of Gujarat, for example, a government programme to bring sanitation to all the state’s 18,000 villages features an annual “Nirmal Gram”, or Clean Village, award. In the village of Karan, in Gujarat’s “taluka” (block unit) of Siddhpur, AKDN helped the village reach the goal of 100 percent sanitation.
Each home now has access to safe water, a toilet facility and underground sewerage. Hand in hand with the construction of sanitation facilities has been information about hygiene practices, from washing hands before meals to the use of long-armed ladles for drinking water pots. Not surprisingly, Karan received a Clean Village award.
AKDN’s integrated community health programmes reach out to over 240,000 people in four states in western and central India. In all cases, communities lead programmes that work to ensure access to quality, affordable community health services, with an emphasis on child survival and maternal health. Water supply and sanitation programmes are coordinated with other environmental health activities, with a special focus on the needs of women and girls.
"From the very beginnings of civilisation, the use of water - intelligently, respectfully and creatively - has been at the very central of human concerns."
His Highness the Aga Khan at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Bujagali hydropower project, Uganda - 21 August 2007