World Water Day is an annual United Nations observance day, started in 1993, that celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2 billion people currently living without access to safe water.
Nell Kelly of Aidlink presents a short guide on how schools can mark the occasion as part of water action month.
The existing water crisis is being exacerbated by climate change, the effects of which are now a harsh reality for some of the most vulnerable communities on the planet. Droughts are prolonged, and where they once occurred every 5-10 years, they are now occurring every 1-2 years, leaving families unable to recover fully before the next drought hits.
Currently, a devastating drought in Kenya places 2.8 million people at risk of death from starvation, including 140,000 children. These droughts are often followed by severe flooding, destroying food supplies and increasing the risk of water borne diseases and acute hunger.
Aidlink organises the annual Walk for Water Campaign throughout March and April with schools throughout Ireland. Thousands of students have Walked for Water in their communities raising awareness about the issue of water poverty in Africa, most especially the devastating impact on children.
The campaign is just one of hundreds of activities which will take place around the world to mark World Water Day 2022. Your participation means you are part of the global movement for water justice.
“Groundwater crosses borders, just like climate change. We must work together to improve the way we share transboundary groundwater resources, balancing the needs in a changing world.” World Water Day 2022
Here are a number of suggested actions of what you can do.
1. Set a date and location for your Walk for Water
Any school can organise a “Walk for Water” in their community. The location and time of the walk should be done at a place and time that is suitable for you and your school.
Join the global community by registering your walk, t-shirts for your group and schedule a visit from an Aidlink speaker to talk about water poverty in Africa our partnership work in addressing it.
Why not make your walk a sponsored walk? Some schools choose to fundraise for Aidlink’s water projects.
2. Make noise
Make banners and posters displaying messages and facts about water and water poverty.
- Show off your creative skills by designing some posters to promote your Walk for Water in your school and community, you can reuse these posters as banners on the day of your Walk.
- Why not do a class project on water poverty and drought in Turkana?
Invite your local media to cover your action and engage local politicians.
- Use your voice and become an advocate for water justice! Send a press release to your local media (TV, newspaper, radio, or online) and invite them to cover your Walk for Water.
- Write a letter to your local politicians telling them about your planned Walk and why it is important that Ireland works hard to help make sure children in Africa have access to water. [sample press release and sample letter are available as part of the campaign pack]
3. Join the online Water Education seminar
Taking place on 22 March 2022 at 11:30-12:15.
The seminar will include our partners from Uganda, who will speak about groundwater and the impact of water poverty on women.
4. Plan your route…and get walking!
On a planned route, at a time and location that suits you – ideally the month of March mobilise and gather your group and Walk for Water to walk 5km or 10,000 steps, or any distance that you can.
Students can even carry water in buckets, saucepans, or watering cans, and carry banners and posters, as an expression of solidarity with children in Africa and the Global South. Collect water from lakes, streams or the sea, and remember that water used must be disposed of ecologically, e.g. use the water to irrigate flower beds.
5. Get sharing!
Send photos of your walk, photos of your posters, blogs, stories or any other material on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram that you have created to the Aidlink team so we can share your hard work with our social media network and our international partners.