On 19-22 March 2011, the world will come together to promote global water and sanitation rights for The World Walks for Water. As we’ve discussed previously, there are currently 884 million people lacking access to clean water, and 2.6 billion who don’t have a safe toilet. This means that 4,000 children die every day from diarrhoea contracted from contaminated water, 3,000 of which are in Africa alone.
The World Walks for Water is asking us all to walk 6 kilometres to stand in solidarity with those in developing countries who have to walk that distance each day just to access water. And even then the water is often dirty.
But this global event is about more than just bringing awareness to this devastating issue. The walk will also demand that politicians in the North and the South keep their promises and step up their efforts to ensure water and sanitation for all people, everywhere.
This effort is particularly essential in the UK where the Department for International Development’s (DFID) announcement recently of their aid review revealed that they are not making water and sanitation a priority.
WaterAid described in their newsroom that “in promising to provide access to drinking water and improved sanitation to an equivalent number to the population of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over the next four years, the [UK] Government is set to reach only one percent of the world's poorest people without access to these basic human rights."
We need to continue pressuring our governments to accept that aid for these issues would provide a huge return on investment - for every £1 invested in water and sanitation, £8 is returned in economic returns through increased productivity (UNDP) and would prevent up to 1.4 million child deaths every year (UNICEF).
Join the Walk
You can still sign up to organise your own Walk for Water or you can join a walk in your area. Together this month we can help motivate others to take action in achieving a world where no one goes without clean water and adequate sanitation.