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March 31, 2009 / kathrynllewellyn

The faces of Water

I’ve been working for the charity Pump Aid for just over a year now and I have become increasingly frustrated with the lack of passion that the access to clean water inspires in people. So, everybody knows that people need water and everybody thinks it’s important that they get water but, it just doesn’t make people angry or passionate enough to really talk about it and act on it.


I have worked on campaigns about human rights abuses, women’s issues, even campaigns aimed at getting sanitary towels to women in Zimbabwe and every one of these campaigns got people so angry or so passionate that I just knew they would be down the pub on a Friday night ranting to their friends about how awful it was. I have never been sat in pub and heard anyone rant about how awful it is that people don’t have access to water – well except for me.


The big trigger for me thinking about this was when a friend of mine told me that I would never get people really caring about the lack of clean water in Africa because water didn’t have a face. I couldn’t stop thinking about it because for me water does have a face and a personality and a story and a tragedy. I’ve been lucky enough to meet the faces of water and have them inspire me, their situations frustrate me and ultimately make me care so much that I rant at my friends on a Friday night about it.


Water doesn’t have a face? Water has approximately 884 million too many faces

and I for one wish it had less.  


Young girls missing school and being put in a situation where they can and are sexually assaulted because they have to walk for five hours a day to get collect water is not ok. It’s not ok that 5000 children die every day because they drink water that they share with animals or that has human waste in it. Not only is it not ok, it makes me angry and it makes me want to change it.


Women losing five hours a day, everyday to collect water is not ok. I completed a money calculator on and it worked out that if I had to spend five hours day collecting water I would lose, in one year, two thirds of my salary. It’s not ok that 40 billion working hours are lost because people don’t have access to clean water. It’s not ok, it makes me angry and I want to change it.  


Contrary to my blogs I’m not generally an angry person, quite the opposite actually. But I just can not stand to see injustice go unchallenged. The lack of access to clean water is one of the biggest injustices I have seen and the cause of some of the deepest grief, hurt and loss that I have witnessed and I just hope that more people get inspired to change this very changeable problem and so next time my friend says people aren’t passionate about this issue I can say – Yes they are!  







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