What would you think if met a 10 year old girl who told you she walked for 6km every day before school just to collect water for her family to cook, drink and wash with? How would you feel if you saw the source of that water – a stagnant waterhole, teeming with infectious bacteria guaranteed to infect her with bouts of diarrhoea? And then what would you say if knew her daily struggle to collect this water meant missing vital learning in school.
Melissa Campbell, Project Manager for Just a Drop, understands only too well the challenges facing children and their communities without clean water – she lived in the arid environment of Central Kenya in her early 20s, without access to water or a toilet in her home.
She says, “When I lived in Kenya I witnessed the issues people faced through having no access to safe, clean water on a daily basis. Children and women would walk for miles in search of water, and in doing so limited their access to education or employment; children would fall ill from water-related diseases; and there would be insufficient water for the community’s crops or livestock, meaning they were always living a hand to mouth existence – something that can lead to the need for disaster relief in times of drought”.
Melissa is travelling to Uganda this month – just two days after World Water Day on 22nd March – to measure the impact our water projects have had there on the lives of the communities supported.
“I am looking forward to seeing how Just a Drop’s projects have changed the lives of the communities we are visiting in Uganda – and to see in particular the positive impact clean, safe water close to where they live has had on the children in those communities.”
Just a Drop has delivered over 130 projects in 31 countries, supporting approximately 1.5 million people since its beginnings in 1998. The aim of the charity is to address the shocking statistic that a child dies every 20 seconds from a water-related disease – which means more children under five years old die from this than malaria, measles and HIV/AIDS combined.
In the field
Just a Drop’s project staff are based within the offices of the Scientific Exploration Society (SES), attached to the home of legendary explorer Colonel John Blashford-Snell, Just a Drop’s Honorary President.
Melissa says, “We have a lot to thank John and the SES for – not only was it through my own experience working with SES that I heard about the role at Just a Drop but also John has helped us to secure a large number of our Volunteer Project Engineers who help to oversee our work with local communities and partners in the field. John himself works with us on projects in South America.
Occasionally our position within the SES also brings additional perks – such as our being able to secure TV presenter Alexander Armstrong as a Just a Drop Patron when he was recently in the office interviewing John!”
Clean, safe water matters – for everyone, everywhere.
To support the appeal please click here.
We’d like to thank the following writers who has taken part in our Why Water Matters blog series this week; you’ve all been absolute stars! – Keris Stainton, Gretta Schifano, Sarah Ebner, and Lucy Campbell. The final post – tomorrow – will be contributed by author Caroline Smailes, so please look out for our tweets!
And don’t forget, water filter bottle company, H2WOW is sponsoring every share, like, tweet and comment, so your social media involvement really is important (and appreciated).
Happy World Water Day!