The importance of water

Posted by Ian Sullivan Digital Campaigner

15th Mar 2012

Over the next week people around the world will be walking for water. Here's why I think it matters.

This weekend I'm off to the countryside with some friends. I'll be honest, we're going just to get away and have some fun. However, I've made an executive decision (that they don't know about yet) that we'll do something good while we're there, and take part in the World Walks for Water.

This event isn't organised by Oxfam, but ensuring people have access to clean water is an essential part of our work. For instance, in the current food crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa, many communities lack a source of clean, safe water. Oxfam is rehabilitating and building water points across the region to ensure that people have access to safe water for themselves and their livestock. (Find out more and donate to our West Africa appeal.)

So my walk isn't explicitly an Oxfam thing but we like to work in partnership with others, as we're stronger when we work together. So I've been giving some support to one of our allies, who are organising The World Walks for Water and Sanitation. This is a global event demanding action to address the world's water and sanitation crisis. From 17 to 25 March 2012, thousands of people will walk together to demand political change when world leaders get together in April for a meeting on sanitation and water for all. As well as taking part in the walk, I'll be writing to the Minister for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, asking him to attend this meeting.

Already they've got close to 300,000 people involved and they're hoping to get more. Our walk will be six miles in the Welsh countryside, so clearly you don't need to organise your own 100km Trailwalker to get involved. Although you could use this as a chance to convince your mates to take on that epic challenge too!

I don't imagine that my ten mates and I will spend the whole time discussing global politics but the fact that we're doing this walk will spark some conversations and debates about the issues involved.

By acting together, in our thousands, all over the world, we can make governments take the actions needed to ensure clean water and sanitation for all. My walk is one small part of that, but when you add it all up, they make a heck of racket.

Find out more about Oxfam's West Africa Appeal

Blog post written by Ian Sullivan

Digital Campaigner

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Ian Sullivan