Most recently, we celebrated World Water Day (March 22), which reminded us that many people still live without access to clean drinking water. Yet, the water use has been increasing steadily by about 1% per year since the 1980s. That means that while we have a clean drinking water available to us 24/7, often wasting it, there are more than two billion people without it. Luckily, charity: water has been trying to reduce the number for the past 13 years, fighting for a positive change in Ethiopia, Rwanda, and other Sub-Saharan African countries, as well as Asia and central and south America.
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What we like about charity: water is their transparency, connectivity and most importantly, their broad-range possibilities of involvement that allows us all to be part of a positive change. Their work, impact and collaboration with locals are awe-inspiring, which is why they were the first charity we had contacted when we were writing the "Giving Back" section of our business plan. We are happy that at this time of global crisis, we managed to talk to Ellie Scouller from charity: water about how they cope with the current consequences caused by the pandemic, what is happening with their projects and what is next on the "to do" list.
Thank you for talking to us, Ellie.
PB: The news and social media are filled with posts telling us how to wash our hands properly to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It has to feel surreal for someone who is frequently in touch with people who has no access to clean water.
I think the current situation is actually a great way to highlight the significance of clean water to all of us who use it every day, without fully appreciating its value. As we all wash our hands more than ever, it makes us realise how vulnerable the 785 million people who currently live without it are. As people keep themselves clean and safe, it provides an opportunity for us to share their story and show how people can help.
PB: What is charity: water doing at this time of crisis? Have the projects been put on hold?
At the time of writing this, our Water Programmes Team is having conversations with all of our partners in the field, to assess the situation in each of their countries. A the moment, the spread of the virus is behind that in Europe and America, although it is of course, inevitable and will be catastrophic. This will have a big impact on the work that our partners can do – as it spreads, their teams will have to slow down work. We are committed to bringing clean water to as many people as possible this year. What that number looks like is unknown at this time. However, we are having open conversations with all partners and looking to ensure that our staff and theirs are kept safe as we try to bring clean water to those who need it most.
Globally, we will feel the effects of this pandemic for years to come.
PB: How can each one of us help at this time of crisis?
Obviously donations towards our efforts are always extremely helpful and greatly appreciated (head to charity: water, to find out more about ways to give). However, we respect that many people are suffering their own financial and personal crises at this time and we do not want to be deaf to this.
PB: What does the future look like for charity: water?
Bright! We are all about hope at charity: water. Hope over guilt, above all. We are committed to the cause that we set out to solve 13 years ago and in times like these, it just becomes more vital. We will work hard to preserve our team and support our partners and to a degree, wait out the storm. Globally, we will feel the effects of this pandemic for years to come. During this time, there will continue to be people served clean water, perhaps it’ll take us longer to help the next 1 million, but I can promise you all that we will never stop.
Charity: water is driven by passion and desire to help. If you cannot currently donate due to the recent developments, you can join their newsletter to stay in touch.