Women leaders to work for better hygiene

Women leaders from different religions, countries and groups came together on the banks of the Ganga here Sunday to commit themselves to better water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices.

The Women for WASH Summit at Parmarth Niketan was part of the first global mega event organised by the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) with technical support from Unicef.

Over 100 women leaders from India, Britain, the US, Europe and Indonesia took part in the first meeting of women faith leaders on WASH, an issue that is of vital and immediate concern to women and children.

The summit saw the presence of some renowned faith leaders from Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism.

Sue Coates from Britain, the WASH chief at Unicef India, said it was high time women looked at the critical role they play and can play in water, sanitation and hygiene issues.

She outlined the immense misery millions of girls and women in India have to go through every day because there were no toilets for them at homes and communities.

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, secretary general of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA), said 1,200 children under the age of five die daily in India because of polluted water, poor sanitation and health facilities as well as social behaviour.

Kiranjot Kaur from Amritsar said religion was a very important part of women’s lives. So were sanitation, water and hygiene.