Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Living Proof - aid works say ONE and the Gates Foundation

A quick post from us today to let you know about the Living Proof project from ONE and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

We were invited to the launch of the ONE version of the campaign in London last night, and attended alongside friends from the non-profit/NGO community, as well as business leaders, ministers from the UK government and celebrities such as Bono and Thandie Newton.

Living Proof aims to show the world that when aid is smart and well targeted, it works.

Bill and Melinda talked about the need to celebrate the successes achieved through international aid. In tough economic times, aid has come under much scrutiny (rightfully so, we need to make sure aid is as effective and well targeted as possible) but also has suffered in its public image with many sceptics questioning whether aid is lost to corrupt forces and whether it can actually help break cycles of poverty.

Both Bill and Melinda spoke of the virtuous cycle that could be achieved with smart aid. Healthy children lead to productive workforces, and so on. They spoke also of the amazing returns investment in aid can bring - from child deaths of 10.5 million a year in 2005, in 2009 8.1 million children died - a reduction of 2.4 million.

Melinda also highlighted vaccine programmes as part of the answer, and told us about aid investments made in the rotavirus vaccine which is helping in the fight against child deaths from diarrhoea. In Nicaragua the vaccine has nearly totally wiped out rotavirus in poor communities.

Mothers in Nicaragua wait for vaccinations against rotavirus - a major cause of diarrhoea.
Photo: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.



Aid of course is not the whole solution - but with such dramatic results the world, Melinda argued, would be foolish to ignore it as an amazing and impressive tool in the fight against poverty.

It's also clear that as a campaigning group demanding smart aid from governments, we need to do better in showing the positive results of aid to water and sanitation, as there are so many! We'll get started on this work, and keep you posted on how we're getting on.

Friday, 15 October 2010

A day of Blog Action!

Wow! What an exciting and inspiring day it’s been – with bloggers around the world ensuring that the debate around the water and sanitation crisis is given a really high profile with an amazing Blog Action Day! This day of action has meant lots of different audiences are given the chance to join in a global conversation about the need to End Water Poverty.

There are simply too many to mention them all, but a quick round up of some of the posts from today….

The UK Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell joined in a day of blogging on the DFID Blog, posting about the need to raise the profile of water and sanitation issues, particularly through Sanitation and Water for All initiative (SWA).

The UK Foreign Office posting a number of blogs throughout the day, and the British Medical Journal posted on the need to provide extra funding for sanitation if we want to see the Millennium Development Goals achieved. The Freshwater Action Network (FAN) blogged on recent developments on the right to water and sanitation, and called people in the UK to action.

And even more happened worldwide: End Water Poverty members around the globe got involved, check out Tearfund, WaterAid, Ryan's Well, Water.org, CARE, Oxfam, Action Against Hunger for starters. And even the US State Department joined in!

We also saw the issues profiled in a number of prominent UK political blogs, including Left Foot Forward, Political Dynamite, Political Scrapbook and Labour List.

One of the great outcomes of the day was reaching a wide range of different audiences, hopefully sparking some discussion of water and poverty issues outside of NGOs already engaged in campaigning on these issues.

Thanks so much to everyone that’s got involved today both posting at spreading the message on twitter, (#BAD2010 and #BAD10) it’s been great and we look forward to reading every single one of the posts!

And if you posted on the day, do let us know so we get the chance to read it!

Brand new campaign for 2011 - The World Walks for Water

It's an exciting moment for us, as we unveil our World Water Day campaign for 2011!

The World Walks for Water is a campaign launched to press governments to take crucial action needed to end the water and sanitation crisis.

This crisis sees women walk 40 billion hours per year carrying water weighing 18 kg which is still not safe to drink. It causes death, disease, missed educations and missed lives.

Last year our big campaign moment was the World's Longest Toilet Queue which saw 100,000 people involved in an amazing 80 countries. They made a stand ahead of a key meeting in Washington DC of developing and developed country governments who made commitments to make a difference. Like the effort of Burkina Faso's government which announced no new home in the country would be built without a toilet from then on.

But there is more to do. The World Walks for Water will mobilise more people in more countries and send a clear message to governments ahead of two crucial meetings in Africa and South Asia where politicians those regions and from rich countries will make firm commitments following on from Washington DC.

How can you get involved?
We've made it as easy as possible.

We want to stand in solidarity with the women and children forced to walk such long distances and hours just to find water. So we're asking you to either organise, or join, a 6 km walk on World Water Day 2011, from 19-22 March 2011.

Register your walk on the website, (which is just in beta version for a week as we want your feedback! You'll be able to register and find walks in a couple of weeks).

And then have fun! We want you to use your walks to make noise and get attention. So dress up, invite the media, do something outrageous and above all - make it political.

Making it political
This means contributing to the global pressure we'll place on governments to deliver water and sanitation to the poorest in the world.

And you can do it in so many ways - invite your local politician, even your prime minister or President to walk with you. Invite the media and tell them about the crisis. Get all the people who walk with you to sign a petition and send it through to us. Gather a photo petition!

Everyone is welcome
We want this to be a truly global action. With walks springing up in London, Delhi, Kampala, Cape Town, Nairobi, Singapore and Washington DC we can truly make a global stand.

For more information, do take a look at the website or contact Serena O'Sullivan.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Bloggers worldwide call for real action on water and poverty.

Thousands of people around the world are writing blog posts on water issues today for Blog Action Day. And many will be writing about the devastating consequence of the water crisis on poverty.

Impact

With diarrhoea killing more children every year than AIDS, malaria and TB (UN), and recently being named as the biggest killer of children under five in Africa (WHO), the world simply cannot stand by and allow this horrifying situation continue.

Water insecurity has multiple effects: having to walk long distances to fetch clean water keeps children out of school and stops women being able to take part in employment, while waterborne diseases and illnesses caused by poor hygiene place huge burdens on overstretched health systems – half of hospital beds in Africa are taken by diarrhoeal patients.

Clara, a midwife from Zambia, talks about the struggles faced by pregnant women and child patients, “It’s very sad these women have to drink dirty water, because it causes infections and complications for the baby. In the children’s ward, we see lots of diarrhoea. The mothers say it is due to poor water and sanitation. They draw their water from shallow wells, some from the small rivers, from the streams”.

Clara, a midwife working in Zambia. Credit: WaterAid/Anna Kari

Global Action

So, how are we working to end the crisis? As a campaign coalition, we call for governments to get clean water and safe sanitation to their citizens.

One way to catalyse this process is the recently formed Sanitation and Water for All initiative (SWA) - a global partnership between donors, developing countries, multilaterals and civil society bodies.

The SWA aims to link up aid with developing country plans that to ensure that people get access to these most basic services. Our website has more information.

It’s a major achievement of the End Water Poverty campaign that the SWA has been established, but we still need to push world leaders to act with urgency and move forward with is process to make it truly effective and far reaching.

We all have a part to play – you included!

End Water Poverty is focused on supporting our members working worldwide to keep on lobbying their national leaders, which contributes to strong international action against the crisis. If you’re a non-profit organisation, think about joining us.

Individuals also can take part. Sign our pledge, join us on facebook, follow us on twitter and take part in campaign actions.

To coincide with Blog Action Day, we are launching ‘The World Walks for Water’, an exciting new campaign for World Water Day 2011.

It will be a global event where thousands of people will take part in 6km walks to demand that global leaders ensure real change, keeping promises made in previous years and working towards clean water and sanitation for all.

You can organise a walk, join a planned walk, or find out more about the campaign at www.worldwalksforwater.org. We look forward to having you involved!

Get involved…today!

We also encourage you to take part in Blog Action Day – it’s not too late. Register your blog and write about the water crisis. We need to get the word out there that 4000 children are dying needlessly every day – and let me tell you, words matter.

Words matter because they can spread far and wide. They can reach the minds of great thinkers who can help find solutions to end the crisis. To people in power who have the resources to end the crisis. And to people everywhere who can stand up to their governments and demand their action.

This has been a silent crisis to date, and Blog Action Day is helping us to create and share the words and demands to end it. Join us!

Friday, 8 October 2010

End Water Poverty members to speak at public meeting in parliament on water in Palestine

End Water Poverty member organisations Action Against Hunger and Interpal will join Amnesty International and Lord Hylton in raising awareness of the water crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territories next week. The meeting is in Committee Room 9 at the House of Commons between 10 and 12am, and is open to all.

Water supply and sanitation for Palestinians are constantly deteriorating. Israel controls the aquifers supplying the region, and the assault on the Gaza Strip entitled ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in 2009 / 09 devastated infrastructure, including vital water treatment plants, forcing Gazans to survive on contaminated water. Nearly 93% of the available water in the Gaza Strip does not meet World Health Organisation (WHO) standards, and the annual average water consumption in Palestine is around 50% of recommended minimum standards.

Dependence on polluted water carries obvious health risks, and nearly a third of Palestinians are not connected to water networks at all. Furthermore, the price of water supplied by private tankers has rocketed in the region, leaving many destitute families forced to choose between water and food.

Four speakers will give presentations on their work on these issues:

Lord Hylton
Lord Hylton travelled to Gaza in August and observed the water crisis there first hand. He will talk about his experiences.

Deborah Hyams: Campaigner on Israel / OPT / PA, Amnesty International
Amnesty International is a global movement of 2.8 million supporters, members and activists in more than 150 countries and territories who campaign to end grave abuses of human rights. Deborah will present the AI report ‘Troubled Waters - Palestinians Denied Fair Access to Water’, and talk about the organisation’s campaign on the right to water in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Dr Sandra Mutuma: Senior Nutrition Advisor, Action Against Hunger
Recognised as a leader in the fight against acute malnutrition, Action Against Hunger works in over 40 countries worldwide in emergency situations of conflict, natural disaster, and chronic food insecurity, benefiting five million people each year. Sandra will talk about the relationship between water and malnutrition.

Ibrahim Hewitt: Chairman, Interpal
Interpal is a British charity working to provide aid and relief to Palestinians. A member of the End Water Poverty group, its projects include the supply of fresh, clean water to residents of the Gaza Strip. Ibrahim visited the projects in August.

Everyone is welcome at this event, which promises to be interesting and a great networking opportunity. If you’d like to attend the meeting, please register with:

Katy Taylor-Gooby
katy@raittorr.co.uk
0207 630 9778

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Take Blog Action on Water!

Next Friday, the 15th October, is Blog Action Day 2010 – when bloggers all around the world seek to raise the profile of one issue by posting on it on a single day.

This year the topic chosen is …… Water!

This is a great opportunity to start a really global conversation on water, by ensuring that on the 15th October people around the world are discussing the how the sanitation and water crisis affects billions of vulnerable people.

With over 13,000 people taking part in last year’s Blog Action Day, from 152 countries, we are hoping to make this year even bigger.

How to get involved?

Make sure you register your blog, and a link to your blog will be added to the Blog Action Day site and your post will appear on the Blog Action Day site on October 15.

People will be blogging on the 15th on a huge variety of topics that relate to water, but we want to ensure that the real links between water and poverty are discussed.

Perpetuating Poverty

We want to emphasise how a lack of water can perpetuate poverty, limiting any other attempts at progress in poverty reduction.

Please help by dedicating your blog to highlighting the links between water, sanitation and poverty. We’ve included a few key messages / ideas below for inspiration!

World Water Day campaign launch

We'll also be using Blog Action Day to launch the website and materials for The World Walks for Water, our global campaign for World Water Day 2011. So please mention the campaign and urge your readers to get involved.

Key messages to highlight in your blog:

  • Water poverty affecting health systems
  • Impact on children
  • Developing economies and water poverty.
  • The MDGs summit and international action on water and sanitation.

See our website for more information and links to other great sources of information.

Take action!

The twitter hashtag for the day will be #BAD2010

To sure you join in this important global discussion register today and get ready to take blog action!