Hundreds of thousands of Africans and other people across the world to take action to remind leaders to end water and sanitation crisis
| By Maureen Chigbo | Apr. 1, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
IT WILL not make any sense for most housewives in western countries to learn that in this 21 century their counterparts in developing countries especially Africa are still trekking miles to fetch potable water. But that is exactly what women and girls go through almost everyday mostly in rural communities, where 70 percent of the population reside. In Sub-Saharan Africa today, 330 million Africans (39 percent of the population) are without access to clean water while a staggering 600 million go without safe sanitation – 70 percent of the population. Every year, 400,000 African children under the age of five die from diarrhoeal diseases brought about by a lack of these services.
This is why some concerned people all over the world will join in solidarity walk with the millions of Africans – overwhelmingly women and children – who walk great distances each day to collect water for their basic needs and who have no safe place to go to the toilet. On March 22, hundreds of thousands of Africans will join with people across the world to take action to call for an end to the water and sanitation crisis on the 20th anniversary of World Water Day.
To mark this event, the World Walks for Water and Sanitation campaign have released a new film to inspire the public everywhere to join the world’s largest global mass mobilisation movement for change. With a month to go, more than 170,000 people are already planning to take part in walks in 25 countries including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi and Madagascar. They will be walking in solidarity with the millions of Africans – overwhelmingly women and children – who walk great distances each day to collect water for their basic needs and who have no safe place to go to the toilet.
The World Walks for Water and Sanitation events are part of the Keep Your Promises campaign, which calls on governments to honor the commitments they have made to finance and provide access to these basic human needs. Different countries have mapped out the activities they will do on the D-day. In Sierra Leone, over 2,500 people will be taking part in walks across the country, including Freetown. Momodu Elongima Maligie, minister for the recently established ministry for water resources, has been invited to attend.
Over 300 young people will be joining a walk in Nairobi organised by the International Youth Council. Liberia CSOs WASH Network is planning a three-day sit-in and petition action at the ministries of health, lands and mines and public works. They’re planning to collect 15,000 signatures calling for promises to be kept. Ten thousand people are planning to walk in Ghana whilst 3,000 people will walk in Malawi.
Natasha Horsfield, a coordinator of the campaign added: “It’s time to tell world leaders that it’s not acceptable for 2,000 children to be dying every day because they don’t have clean drinking water or a safe place to go to the toilet.
The World Walks for Water and Sanitation calls on people across Africa to join the thousands of campaigners walking to demand political leaders keep their promises on sanitation and water this World Water Day.