Sarah Hagger-Holt is a member of the CAFOD campaigns team. Here, she writes about their brilliant Thirst for Change campaign and tells us why CAFOD are supporting the World Walks for Water and Sanitation.
What makes people want to push themselves to the limit?
From the comfort of my desk, with a cup of tea in my hand, I’ve been wondering about this question since CAFOD’s Thirst for change campaign was launched.
Because it seems like every day I hear about a new limit-stretching idea to raise awareness about our campaign for clean water and sanitation for all.
It all started last month with Rachel’s water challenge.
'Why not try to live on ten litres of water a day?' asks our campaign action pack. This is the amount that someone in a developing country has to cook, eat and wash with, compared to the 200 litres that the average person in Europe uses.
Why not? I can think of plenty of reasons! I like my hot showers (that's a shocking nine litres for every minute), clean clothes and non-stop supply of tea, not to mention being able to flush the loo as many times as I like.
But Rachel not only said yes, she decided that one day wasn’t enough. Make it seven days. It wasn’t enough just to live on 10 litres of water, she would walk over 1km a day to collect it as well.
And then there’s Becky. She’s pledged to walk the equivalent of seven marathons in eight days alongside the Thames Path - from Cirencester where she grew up to the heart of government at Westminster.
When Becky sets off, Jim will already be halfway through his personal pilgrimage. A walk across three dioceses over two weeks along the Grand Union canal, relying on the hospitality of strangers for food and lodging as he goes.
They’ll both be blogging in April.
Becky and Jim are just two of the hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who will be walking to call for an end the water and sanitation in the coming weeks. Find out more about the World Walks for Water and Sanitation here.
So what is it that inspires people to push themselves to the limits? Here's my guess.
A personal challenge. A spirit of adventure. An opportunity to test themselves. A sense of injustice. A chance to get other people engaged and excited about something they care passionately about.
Outrage about the limits that people in the developing world have to stretch every day to get something as basic as clean water.
A commitment that no one should have to spend their days walking to get water or miss out on their education because their school lacks basic sanitation. A thirst for change.
These are many of the reasons why CAFOD has joined the End Water Poverty coalition. The more of us speak up together for clean water and safe sanitation for all – the more we can demand attention and bring about change.
You don’t have to push yourself to the limits to support an end to water poverty. Rachel, Becky and Jim are doing it on your behalf.
They are inviting you to support, sponsor or even walk with them for a little way. But most of all they are inviting you to thirst for change, and to email David Cameron calling for an end to water poverty.
But if reading this has inspired you to live life at the limit, to don your walking boots or to turn off your taps, do let us know….