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NEW YORK, USA, 22 March 2010 Three quarters of the planet is covered by water, yet only about one per cent is available for human agricultural, manufacturing, community and personal use. This years World Water Day theme Clean Water for a Healthy World aims to raise awareness and spur action on improving water quality worldwide.

A global event on water quality took place today in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, to mark the occasion. The event, organized by UN Water, brought together national and local government representatives, UN agencies, civil society, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, scientists, local and international media, and the general public including school children to discuss policy options and initiate action to improve water quality around the world.

Two buckets of safe water a day is the minimum a child needs to live, yet 4000 children die EVERY DAY because they don't even have that. For many, the dangers lie in collecting water -- a job often handed out to girls and women. Instead of attending school, a child may walk several hours a day to the nearest water source. Children's health improves and school attendance rises when water-pumps are installed in schools. UNICEF works around the globe installing latrines and pumps but 1.1 billion people still drink unclean water. Basic sanitation and hygiene education has a dramatic effect on reducing mortality and poverty.
Credits: Producer:Rachel Bonham-Carter

On World Water Day, as the 4th World Water Forum here draws to a close, the voices of debate and discussion have fallen silent to hear and consider a clarion call to action from children Credits: Producer:Sabine Dolan

Under the theme, Clean Water for a Healthy Word, this years World Water Day, 22 March, aims to spur action on improving water quality worldwide. Here is a related story on UNICEF's safe-water efforts in Niger.

CHINWAGHARI VILLAGE, Niger, 22 March 2010 Surrounded by a throng of other children, each carrying empty containers, Fatima Hamouma, 8, walked to the new, modern water taps in her village. In just a few minutes, she had filled all six of her containers. Just a year ago, fetching water from the old traditional well would have required at least three hours of hard work.

Its easy, Fatima said. Before, we had to queue for a long time to get the water. And most of the time, it was dirty.

The new water taps, which were installed a year ago, provide direct access to potable water for the 1,100 inhabitants of Chinwaghari village. Theyre part of a state-of-the-art, mini water distribution system set up by UNICEF, the Government of Niger and other partners. The aim is to increase sustainable access to drinking water and sanitation in the community, thereby reducing the prevalence of waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea among children.