The Future is Equal

Ending Poverty

Water for all

Water for all banner with boy filling up a cannister

One in five people live without safe water.

Yet here in New Zealand, clean water is so plentiful and easily available that we simply take it for granted. In the world’s poorest countries, illness from drinking dirty water is one of the most serious threats to human life. Despite great improvements, diseases caused by contaminated water and inadequate sanitation claim the lives of over one million children each year. Most cases can be prevented or treated.

Without safe water and sanitation, people find it impossible to escape the downward spiral of disease and poverty.

Will you help give families the lifesaving gift of clean water?

Life without safe water

Without a safe water source nearby, women and children spend a great deal of time travelling long distances to collect water for drinking and washing. This means women have less time to engage in paid work, and children spend less time in school.

Without basic sanitation, many women are forced to wait until darkness falls to relieve themselves with at least some privacy, putting themselves in considerable danger.

When water and sanitation are provided to communities, they can spend more of their money on food, healthcare and education rather than on water.

Sustainable solutions

Often the solution to providing safe drinking water is not complicated – the engineering requires just some know-how, a few materials and a bit of hard work. Oxfam’s water and sanitation programmes:

  • are affordable
  • are appropriate to local conditions
  • use water efficiently
  • ensure that local communities can operate and maintain the facilities in the long term

Deciding which technologies to use depends on a community’s specific needs and the water sources available in the area. 

Key statistics

  • Globally, more than 785 million people do not have access to basic water services and 884 million people do not have safe water to drink. 
  • More than 25% of the world’s population (over 2 billion people worldwide) do not have access to basic sanitation.
  • In Papua New Guinea, 78% of the population, which is more than 4 million people, do not have access to sanitation services. 
  • In Solomon Islands, 80% of rural households and schools have no sanitation system.

You can help change these statistics by supporting Oxfam’s water and sanitation programmes throughout the Pacific.

Aid and development

Learn about Oxfam's aid and development programmes across the world

Aid is critical to reducing poverty in developing countries.

Because aid really works. Millions more children around the world are now going to school – developing the skills needed to make a decent living and increasing their chances of breaking free from poverty. Water and sanitation projects are now making it easier for people in developing countries to have access to clean, safe water – improving the health and livelihoods of some of the world’s poorest people. But there is still more to be done. Oxfam is working hard, encouraging governments such as our own New Zealand Government, and international organisations like the UN to meet their promises on aid, and to spend it more effectively – by targeting people who most need help.

Yvette and her daughter Grace in the fruit and vegetable patches Yvette and her husband maintain with support from Oxfam Partner Farm Support Association, (FSA).

Why should NZ commit to 0.7 percent of GNI spent on aid?

As many as 1.4 billion people in the developing world (one in four) are living in extreme poverty, on less than US$1.25 a day, according to the World Bank. If you take one of our closest neighbours, Vanuatu, at least 40 percent of the population lives below the National Basic Needs Poverty Line.

Oxfam believes New Zealand can do better. We need do our fair share in the fight on global poverty, especially in the Pacific, by reaching 0.7 percent Gross National Income (GNI) for overseas development by 2015. WE may not feel rich but New Zealand is collectively the 20th richest country per head out of 177 countries in the world, so we can afford to help the poorest in other countries. Moreover, a 2007 survey undertaken by UMR Research found that 76 percent of New Zealanders supported giving Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) and more than 60 percent of New Zealanders supported meeting the 0.7 percent target.

We should not only give aid because of a moral commitment to help others, but helping others in other countries will also make this a safer and more secure world for all. We welcome the recent increase in ODA in recent years but New Zealand was still only ranked 17th out of the 22 OECD countries for overseas aid spending per capita in 2007 as a proportion of national income.

Food and livelihoods

Helping people in poverty develop sustainable livelihoods.

Secure livelihoods mean a secure future for people and their families, and the chance to live with hope, rather than fear for the future. Over two-thirds of the three billion people who live in poverty currently, rely on small-scale agriculture for their food and wages. Millions of others depend on wages for their income. To make ends meet, families living in poverty often have to rely on seasonal agricultural labouring, domestic work, or remittances from family members migrating for work. Oxfam’s livelihoods programme seeks to help people in poverty have a sustainable livelihood, including making a decent living, living in a safe environment, with adequate housing, clean water, and sufficient food.

Women’s rights

You’re more likely to be poor if you are a woman. That’s a fact.

Of the 1.3 billion people living in extreme poverty worldwide, more than two-thirds are women and girls.

Campaigning for gender equality is an important part of Oxfam’s work, and putting an end to discrimination and unfair treatment is key to eliminating global poverty and injustice.

Here’s why:

• Women make up 75% of the world’s workforce.

• Women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours.

• Women produce the majority of the world’s food.

• Women earn only 10% of the world’s income.

• Women own less than 1% of the world’s property.

Oxfam is working with women across the Pacific and Southeast Asia who are speaking out against the discrimination they face while attempting to bring about positive change to secure their basic human rights.

Learn more about Oxfam’s 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence here.

Facts on gender equality

• 60% of the world’s chronically hungry are women and girls.

• Two-thirds of all children denied school are girls, and 75 per cent of the world’s 876 million illiterate adults are women

• Women hold only 21 per cent of the world’s parliamentary seats, and only 8 percent of the world’s cabinet ministers are women.

• Only 46 countries have met the UN target of 30 percent female decision-makers.

• One in three women around the world are likely to be victims of gender-based violence in their lifetime.

• Gender-based violence is one of the biggest causes of injury and death to women worldwide, causing more deaths and disability among women aged 15 to 44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents, and war.

• As a result of violence and neglect, there are 50 million fewer women in South Asia today than there should be.

• Every extra year a girl spends at school could reduce child mortality by ten percent.

• Almost 300,000 women died in 2013 from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Most of these deaths are preventable. Of these deaths, 99 percent are in developing countries. In parts of Africa, maternal mortality rates are 1 in 16.

• In New Zealand, 20 percent of women will be physically abused by a male partner and one in five women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.

• In Samoa, 46 percent of women have been abused by their partner

• In Fiji 41 percent of women who experienced violence reported being hit while pregnant.