Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) is the world’s first initiative to engage leaders of several faiths to create a world where everyone has access to improved sanitation, safe drinking water and proper hygiene. These faith leaders have expressed deep anguish at the fact that nearly 595 million Indians still defecate in the open, the largest percentage of a population in the world. This results in high mortality, morbidity and environmental degradation. The worst affected by all of this are the children and women. India has the world’s largest number of diarrheal deaths among children under the age of five, and nearly 88% die of diarrhea mainly due to poor sanitation, unsafe drinking water and unhygienic practices.
The engagement of faith leaders opens the way for millions of people to hear about good WASH practices as part of their accepted way of living through belief and religion. GIWA is partnering with UNICEF India in a historic event at the end of this month. GIWA will bring together top faith leaders, political leaders, high level government officials, industrialists, celebrities, international organizations, NGOs and community based organizations in this historic “Worship to WASH” Summit at Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, on 29-30 November, 2014. On the third day of the summit, 30th November, we are organizing a very special “Women for WASH Summit,” which will be the first coming together of India’s top women faith, political and social leaders in the history of India, so that together, they may lead the way for a single cause.