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Young people unite to get water for all as UK Scouts visit Madagascar with WaterAid

29 Mar 2016

Three British Scouts are embarking on the trip of a lifetime to Madagascar with international development charity WaterAid to help improve access to clean water and good sanitation across the country.

Jack Abrey, 19, Hannah Kentish, 23, and Rebecca Alexander, 23, will participate in three Madagascan Scout camps, where they will get involved in activities aimed at raising awareness of the importance of safe, private toilets and hygiene.

They will then roll out the training to local communities to encourage positive behaviour change as well as supporting calls for the government to invest more in these basic necessities – activities the young Brits will then encourage Scouts to mirror back in the UK.

The trio will also see first-hand what life is like without clean water and toilets, visiting areas without access to these vital resources as well as villages where WaterAid has worked to help transform lives.

The trip will inform and inspire around 65,000 Scouts across the UK who have committed to support WaterAid to help get clean water and sanitation to everyone everywhere by 2030 as part of the A Million Hands campaign.

This partnership between WaterAid and the Scout Association sees young people linking up with their counterparts across the world taking action to help those without access to water or toilets in the developing world.

Reading student Jack Abrey, who is Chair of The Scout Association’s Community Impact Group, which is leading A Million Hands, said: “Helping other people is a key part of what Scouting is all about, and as part of A Million Hands, young people across the UK will be helping change the lives of others for the better both nationally and internationally.

“We’re excited to visit Madagascar to see how Scouts are working with WaterAid there to transform lives by educating people about good sanitation and hygiene, as well as advocating for more investment in clean water and sanitation facilities. It will also be great to use this trip to develop new ways we can join together with our Scout family in Madagascar, and across the world, to help get clean water and sanitation for everyone everywhere.” Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world, with 70% of people living below the poverty line on less than $1.25 a day. Nearly 12m people lack access to clean water and more than 21m people (88% of the population) have nowhere safe to go to the toilet. As a result, 2,100 children die every year from diarrhoeal diseases.

WaterAid works alongside the Scout Movement in Madagascar to help raise awareness of the importance of clean water, good sanitation and hygiene in remote communities across the country, and campaign for water and toilets for all.

Keith Dunmall, Youth Engagement Manager at WaterAid, said: “It’s easy for us to take clean water and toilets for granted, but far too many young people in developing countries live without these basics, impacting on their health, dignity, and education. We are delighted to be working with A Million Hands alongside young people who recognise the rights of everyone on our planet to have access to clean water and sanitation. “The UK Scouts visit to Madagascar shows how young people across the world can unite to help achieve our ambitious goal to get clean water and good sanitation for everyone everywhere by 2030.

ENDS

About A Million Hands campaign:

The A Million Hands campaign is enlisting half a million Scouts to work with some of the UK’s biggest charities – Mind, The Alzheimer’s Society (Dementia Friends), WaterAid, Guide Dogs for the Blind and the Leonard Cheshire Disability Trust – over the next four years.

The charities were chosen by Scouts themselves:

  • Ensuring everyone everywhere has access to clean water and sanitation.
  • Improving the lives of those affected by dementia.
  • Improving the lives of those disabled by society.
  • Improving the mental wellbeing and resilience of families.

A total of 209,000 young people have signed up to support A Million Hands; 34% selected water and sanitation as their issue, meaning around 65,000 will take action for WaterAid.  

For further information, visit: https://www.amillionhands.org.uk

WaterAid

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 www.wateraid.org, follow @WaterAidUK on Twitter, or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wateraid.

  • Around 900 children die every day from diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation.
  • 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
  • Just £15 can help provide one person with access to safe water.