When the news broke that the Millennium Development Goal on water had been met five years early, we all cheered! In the face of such an achievement, some people asked: do we still need to Thirst for change?
BBC Environment correspondent Roger Harrabin has commented on how these statistics may over-estimate the number of people who really do have clean, safe water to drink.
So, as we prepare to deliver over 50,000 actions calling for an end to water poverty to Downing Street on 15 May, we take a closer look behind the statistics. Here, we highlight three that you might have missed – and show why these numbers add up to a compelling reason to keep on campaigning.
Read about our Thirst for change campaign >
Whenever I’ve told anyone that I’m doing this challenge, without fail they have asked me “What are you going to do about flushing the toilet?” Good question. It’s the one part of this challenge which I’m really going to struggle with, if not fail entirely.
Email the PM to call for safe water and sanitation for all >>
Yesterday, even after repeating ‘Don’t flush, don’t flush’ to myself whilst sitting on the toilet, out of a habit drilled into me since childhood I realised too late that I had.
To try and avoid this happening again I have stuck a bright pink post-it note reading “Do you really need to flush??” on top of the cistern, which will hopefully stop my hand as it instinctively reaches to the flush buttons. Continue reading
This week I learnt a new fact: ‘water’, and its derivatives, are referenced some 700 times in the Bible . From Genesis to Revelation, creation to liberation, water charts a course through verse and psalm – flowing and meandering throughout Scripture.
The spiritual significance of water gives us much to ponder. Through water, life is both physically and spiritually given, blessed and affirmed.
And yet, few of us think about the life-giving properties of the water that flows out of our taps. We forget that the water gushing out of our hose-pipes, as we tend to our vegetables, is a gift. We don’t find the time to reflect on the 50 litres of water we each flush down our toilets every day in the UK.
A year ago, the importance of taps and toilets rarely crossed my mind. But then I met Esther when I travelled to Zambia with CAFOD last summer. And she changed all that.
Call for clean water and safe sanitation for all >>
Filed under CAFOD, Zambia
A taptap in Port-au-Prince
Catherine Cowley, who has been working as a trainee in our Humanitarian team since April 2011, shares her impressions of Haiti.
Haiti earthquake two years on: our response>>
As someone who had never been to Haiti, and freshly arrived from CAFOD’s London offices, the first thing that hit me when I exited the airport in Port-au-Prince wasn’t the crowd of drivers rushing up to grab the attention of the new batch of arrivals, or the heat and dust that are a complete contrast to the dreary November weather in London. It was the brightly coloured pickups, called tap-taps, which trawl up and down the roads looking for passengers.
They are a bit of a shock to the system because they are brightly painted, constantly hum with music, are always crowded, and seem to have a never-ending ability to just keep going, despite all the obvious repairs they have gone through. Anyone looking at a stationary tap-tap would have a hard time imagining them slogging up one of the many bumpy Port-au-Prince roads. And yet they do. And this pretty much reflects what it’s like in Haiti.
"I would have let my four year old use the camp latrines"
Help us respond to emergencies as soon as they happen>>
When I went back to Haiti recently, I noticed some big changes. The markets are full and busy. New businesses are springing up. The school system is getting back to normal. There are still far too many tents in Port au Prince – almost every open space has been turned into a camp – but work is finally starting on longer lasting shelters.
I was in Haiti to monitor some of the projects that we’ve been supporting. One of the main things we’ve been focussing on is sanitation. Cholera broke out in a big way towards the end of last year, and we’ve been taking the threat very seriously.
My colleague Robert Cruickshank is working in hospitals in several large towns across Haiti, helping them to improve their sanitation facilities in order to prevent the spread of disease. And our partners are continuing to supply clean water to more than 40,000 people living in camps.