International development charity, WaterAid is encouraging Aussies to don their walking shoes from March 16 – 20 and clock up 10,000 steps a day in a bid to raise funds and awareness for the more than 700 million people around the world that don’t have access to safe water. The national fundraiser called ‘Walk 4 Water’ coincides with World Water Day (March 22), and challenges participants to walk 10,000 steps a day – the equivalent daily journey women undertake in the developing world to collect often unsafe water. Paul Nichols, Chief Executive of WaterAid Australia, said that access to water is a basic human right and it’s staggering to think that one in ten of the world’s population is still deprived of their right to water. “In Australia we rarely need to walk more than 10 steps to access clean water but in the developing world, women and girls have no choice but to undertake an often treacherous 10,000-step journey every day to collect dirty, contaminated water,” said Mr Nichols. “Over half a million children needlessly die every year from diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera by drinking unsafe water.” “Unsafe water also impacts productivity and limits economies, taking time away from education, work and other tasks that could provide additional income for families,” Mr Nichols said. Last year WaterAid Australia, through its local partners in South East Asia and the Pacific, helped almost 8,000 people access clean, fresh water. As little as $30 can help bring safe water to one person in the developing world, while $200 can provide two hand pumps to a village in Papua New Guinea and $280 can pay for the construction of a tap stand in Timor-Leste, providing water for five families. To register, visit www.walk4water.com.au and get friends, family and co-workers to sponsor you. Once registered, WaterAid will send you a pedometer to count your steps, and you can access posters and fundraising tips via the website.