March 22, 2012
Water, Water - Hardly Everywhere
Excerpt from commentary by Abhijit Banerjee, co-author with Esther Duflo of “Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty.”
People in developing countries spend a lot of time in activities that have to do with water and hygiene. In many of these countries, people cannot take for granted that the water they are using is clean and safe. Diarrhea kills 1.5 million children under 5 every year, and many of those deaths are water related.
Water not only affects health; for many of the households around the world, making sure that they get enough water for their daily needs takes quite a bit of time, and can be a major source of stress. Forty-three percent of the world’s population does not have piped water in their home.
In Morocco, we worked on a project that offered families credit that they could use to pay for piped water connections. Most people who got this option took it, and after a year, they reported being happier, less stressed, and facing less conflict in their lives.
It can be difficult to imagine how this change would impact day-to-day lives. You can explore these differences using The People of Poor Economics, an interactive graphic. This format brings to life the data from our book Poor Economics, providing detailed information about how individuals in India, Morocco, Guatemala and the United States spend their day in order to bring to life the complexities of poor people’s lives.