Letter from the Water Office

Global Waters, August 2012
Global Waters, August 2012

World Water Week 2012 brings policymakers from around the globe to Stockholm to explore the links between water and food security. We focus this edition of Global Waters on these essential issues of our time.

Half a billion people, 95 percent of them in the developing world, work in the fishing industry and billions more rely on fishers to put food on the table. However, both fishing and fish farming can lead to ecosystem destruction and dwindling quality and quantity of fish. Fishers are feeling the pinch—as it turns out, there are not plenty of fish in the sea. There are solutions though, and this month’s cover story focuses on USAID’s efforts to train communities to fish and farm fish in a sustainable way. So far, profits have been higher, food has been ample, and acres of beautiful coastline have been preserved. It seems that folk wisdom was right: If you teach a man to fish (sustainably), he will eat for a lifetime.

Indeed, education is the key to development. This edition, we profile several brilliant young African graduate students who are not only taking demanding graduate course loads, but also building their countries’ futures. These women and men from Africa’s cities and pasturelands are studying topics like water resource management, agriculture, and HIV prevention in new programs supported by USAID and a number of American universities. With state of the art resources and access to the foremost development minds, the first crop of students has begun applying lessons learned in the classroom in their communities. They are venturing off campus and studying river basins, designing irrigation systems, and saving pastoralist communities.

Global Handwashing Day is this October, and millions of people around the world will be lathering up in celebration. This is a fantastic opportunity to draw attention to the issue, but USAID strives for a lifetime commitment of good health and hygiene. In this edition, we spotlight USAID’s efforts to enable schoolchildren, HIV patients, and the urban poor to do the basic things we take for granted—things like using a flush toilet, throwing our clothes in the washing machine, and washing our hands with soap. We can only hope that efforts like these will spread and soon every day will be Global Handwashing Day.

We hope you enjoy this issue and share it with your friends, family, and colleagues. Happy World Water Week!

The Water Office

Last updated: August 20, 2013

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