Friday, 18 February 2011

Zambian water campaigners to reach millions

Mubu Kalaluka campaigns in Zambia and is organising a huge World Walks for Water event there on World Water Day. Here he shares with us how is plans are developing, what his messages to government are and how he's promoting the event....he's a busy man!

The Zambian NGO Water Forum will be taking to the television and radios, as well as to the streets, for The World Walks for Water 2011.

We have a clear message:
It’s not difficult to supply clean water. What’s difficult is living with the consequences of NOT doing so. Through a documentary and radio programmes we will show viewers that many people in Lusaka, our capital city, are living without clean water unnecessarily. And the video will help the wider community to understand the impact of living without clean water and to inspire them to think they can do something about the situation.

We will focus on the problems faced by communities in Lusaka of lack of water and sewerage provision, poor water quality, unannounced interruption of supply and connections flooding with sewage. This exemplifies the scale of the problem. At the time of World Water Day 2011, seven of the peri-urban areas of Lusaka have been identified as at particularly high risk of cholera, with six other areas at significant risk. 53 cases have already been confirmed. This cannot persist, and we’ll use the World Walks for Water campaign to tell our government so. This will build on our brilliant campaign last year, The World's Longest Toilet Queue, which saw thousands of Zambians taking part in the first ever global campaign on sanitation coverage, (a couple of photos below).

Viewing figures for the 2011 programme should be about 8 million people, and after viewing the documentary, we want people to be more focused in bringing clean water to more people in Lusaka, both through their own actions, and through urging opinion formers and duty bearers to do more.

The documentary will be in four parts, showing viewers how people’s lives are harmed by their poor access to clean water, and what can be done to solve them. Each part focuses on the life of one person/family who do not have clean water – how that is impacting them – both in their daily lives and longer term impacts – and what they are doing/have done about it.

The documentary is emotional and hard-hitting, told by stories. It is not a neutral, research-focused informative piece. It is part of the NGO Water Forum’s advocacy work, ending with a clear call to action.

On 15thMarch we’ll be having a radio discussion programme with someone form Lusaka Sereage Company, someone from the affected community and an NGO representative, and we expect 3 to 4 million people to tune into that.

Planning for our actual walk is going well too and we’re going to have a relay of 6km (6 x 1km stretches, or 3 x 2km stretches). This should make it easier for people to join in. Containers of water will be carried the whole distance to illustrate the issue.

The marchers will be carrying placards highlighting the key issues that have been raised in the documentary. They will also be wearing brightly coloured T-shirts highlighting a key message. The plan is that the Forum members T-shirts will be brighter and more striking than any other walkers raising the possibility of good media attention.

The individuals and families profiled in the documentary will be encouraged to participate so that their stories receive more profile from the media.

Check back later to see how our plans develop!

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