World Water Day, a human right, a tool for peace. The initiatives of Sant'Egidio

 The Community of Sant'Egidio celebrates today the World Water Day stressing how this good, so precious for humanity, must help build bridges of peace. It must not be the cause of regional crises, wars or major migrations. In fact, in the period between 2000 and 2023 alone, water-related violence has been on the rise. It is estimated that water played a crucial role, either as a trigger, a casualty or as a weapon against civilian populations in 1,385 conflicts (source UNHCR).

In particular, the situation in Somalia in 2023 highlighted how serious the water crisis is and how it directly impacts forced migration. Almost 3 million people have been internally displaced because of a combination of drought, floods, insecurity and conflict.
Sant'Egidio has been working for many years in various African countries to transform water from a potential source of conflict to a tool for peace and development. It has undertaken significant initiatives to improve water supply and address water and food shortages caused by soil degradation and desertification.
Some of the actions undertaken include structural interventions in African prisons to improve access to drinking water. The DREAM programme has promoted the creation of community gardens, supporting the food self-sufficiency of the population and improving the nutrition of rural households in Malawi. In addition, education on the proper use of water in Sant'Egidio Schools of Peace and Nutrition Centres in Mozambique and Malawi highlights the importance of preventing water-related diseases, improving the health and wellbeing of communities.