The world’s most vulnerable people struggle to meet their daily basic needs. Water and food are critical for survival, yet safe water remains out of reach for 2.1 billion people and food security is increasingly threatened by the effects of climate change.
Protecting the Essentials
Today, one in four people worldwide lack access to safe water — a fundamental human right. Hunger is on the rise, fueled by conflicts and inequality that has worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020 alone, an additional 71 million people were pushed back into extreme poverty.
Climate change is compounding problems faced by the most vulnerable. Climate-related disasters and overexploitation of natural resources are urgent threats. These cause droughts, floods, and crop failures — endangering the foundation of food supply systems globally.
Nafissatou Bagana, midwife at the Sirarou maternity ward, Benin
Helvetas helps communities and governments to distribute water resources fairly, sustainably manage water supply and sanitation services, and improve hygiene practices. We also strengthen food systems by securing land rights, advancing best practices in agriculture management, and advocating for policies that increase the availability of affordable, healthy food.
Enhancing access to markets and improving services are critical components of sustainable development. Helvetas supports the building and maintenance of trail bridges, rural roads and tracks to ensure that people can sell their products and access the services and goods they need.
Climate change is hitting the poorest and most vulnerable communities the hardest. Helvetas works with these groups to build resiliency through integrated landscape management, risk-informed decision making and improved access to climate finance.