Ellie Simmonds shows what she’s made of to support new WaterAid campaign


12 Jan 2017

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Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds, OBE, is showing what she’s made of in a thought-provoking new film by WaterAid as part of its ‘Made of the Same Stuff’ campaign, which aims to encourage solidarity across the world to help end the global water crisis.

The film features footage of the international swimmer in training alongside clips of 13-year-old Shayilini on her journey to collect dirty water for her family from a pond near her village in Malawi.

The film shows that while Ellie and Shayilini live different lives, they are both ‘Made of the Same Stuff’ – strength, perseverance, and 60% water.

Ellie, a WaterAid Ambassador, has visited Uganda to see first-hand what life is like without access to clean water and good sanitation. She said:

“We’re all made of about 60% water; it is a bond we share across the world that is stronger than the kilometres and continents that separate us. Just to survive, we need around 2.4 litres of water every day. However, 663 million people around the world still lack access to this basic human need.

“I’ve met families living without safe water, and have seen first-hand the impact it has on their health and education. Having access to clean water and toilets can really transform lives, providing the first step out of poverty. Ending the water and sanitation crisis by 2030 might sound impossible, but together we’re made of the stuff that makes history.”

Shayilini’s daily walk for water is now history, as WaterAid has been working in her village to install a borehole providing safe, clean water for the first time and helping improve the health and prosperity of the community. They will soon also gain access to safe toilets, which will further help transform lives.

Through the Made of the Same Stuff appeal, the public can help others like Shayilini access clean water and safe sanitation.

Barbara Frost, Chief Executive at WaterAid, said:

“We’re delighted to be working with Ellie Simmonds to raise awareness of the global water and sanitation crisis. Every two minutes a child dies because of contaminated water and poor sanitation; but it doesn’t have to be this way. WaterAid is promoting our vision of all households, schools and hospitals having access to clean, safe water and decent toilets, and we believe this can be achieved with the right political will and sound investment.

“The world has already made amazing progress. Each year, 78 million people are turning on a tap or using a pump for the first time. If just 8 per cent more people can be reached a year, everyone everywhere will have access to clean, safe water by 2030 – what a momentous achievement that would be!”

The Made of the Same Stuff appeal has been supported by a host of celebrities, including Brian Blessed, Nadiya Hussein and David Morrissey, who have revealed what they are made of through the charity’s online quiz.


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For more information, please contact Laura Crowley, PR Manager, at [email protected] / +44 (0)207 793 4965 or Marina Thomas, Senior Media Officer, at [email protected].

Or call our after-hours press line on 07887 521 552 or email [email protected].

Notes to Editors:


WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation.  The international organisation works in 37 countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific Region to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world’s poorest communities.  Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 23 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 21 million people with sanitation.  For more information, visit, follow @WaterAidUK on Twitter, or visit us on Facebook at

  • Around 315,000 children die each year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. That’s almost 900 children each day, or one child every two minutes.
  • Over 650 million people (around one in ten) are without safe water
  • Over 2.3 billion people (around one in three) live without improved sanitation
  • For every £1 invested in water and sanitation, an average of £4 is returned in increased productivity.
  • Just £15 can help provide one person with access to safe water.
  • For details on how individual countries are keeping their promises on water and sanitation, please see our online database,