Five things we want to do before we’re 40

As we celebrate our 35th birthday, we’ve put together a bucket list of things we want to achieve in the next five years – and they’ve got everything to do with taps, toilets and transforming lives.

21 Jul 2016

Swim with dolphins. See the northern lights. Climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

These are some of the things you might expect to see on a 35-year-old’s bucket list. But when you’re a charity dedicated to creating a world where everyone everywhere has taps and toilets by 2030, what do your big ideas for the future look like?

To keep on track with our aim, here are five of the things we want to achieve before we hit the big 4-0:

1. Work with more of the world’s most remote communities

Meet the Kaiwa family. They live in a small community in Papua New Guinea – a country where 85% of the population live in hard-to-reach rural areas with little or no public services.

When a WaterAid programme started in their community, the Kaiwas learnt to build their own toilet. Now their health has improved and their children don’t get sick any more.

We already work in 38 countries across the globe, but we have plans to reach even more in the next four years – so more families like the Kaiwas can build a better future.

The Kaiwa family in front of their toilet, Papua New Guinea.
“We decided to build a toilet because the important thing is health of the family. Now the children aren’t sick anymore.” Andrew Kaiwa with his family in Papua New Guinea.

2. Make more friends (and influence people)

After 35 years, if there's one thing we’ve learnt, it’s that we can achieve more by working together.

When we partner with other organisations – big and small – we can share expertise and reach more people than ever before with vital taps and toilets.

Meanwhile, working with governments means we can make sure water, sanitation and hygiene are integrated into essential plans for education, health and housing.

That means more amazing moments like this one in 2015, when – after years of working with the Nepalese government – the right to taps and toilets was enshrined as a right in the country’s new constitution:

3. Help the world’s poorest people cope with climate change

Since WaterAid began, the world’s poorest people have been hardest hit by floods, droughts and monsoons as our climate changes – and are finding themselves without the resources to deal with these threats.

We’re committed to providing practical solutions to help communities cope, like household rainwater harvesting tanks, which can provide a family with drinking water for three months, and raised toilets, which won’t contaminate water supplies during heavy floods.

Critically, we also want to empower more people to hold their governments to account, to make sure they provide the support people need to deal with the challenges caused by climate change.

Naznin Nahar, a housewife from Ward 3 expressing her concerns over water logging in her area at a community meeting, Paikgacha Municipality, Khulna, Bangladesh, 2014.
We’re working to empower more people like Naznin, who lives in the flood-prone region of Paikgacha, Bangladesh, to express their concerns about climate change.

4. Get the world to look differently at drilling

Here comes the technical one! If we want to make sure every borehole drilled has the best chance of providing water for years to come, we need to drive up standards in the water supply industry – and that’s no mean feat. Even picking the right place to get started can be a challenge, as this animation shows:

What makes it all worthwhile? Simple. Creating a world where we know the wells, taps and toilets we help to build are here to stay.

5. Leave no one behind

When we say we want to reach everyone everywhere, we mean it.

Around the world, we work hard to promote the rights of marginalised people, and to make sure all the services we provide are accessible to everyone – including people like Aguti.

She lost an arm when she was attacked at home in the Amuria district, Uganda, by members of the Lord’s Resistance Army.

“The nearest water source is about three kilometres away. People like me, living with a disability, will always find it challenging to go there and carry water home,” she says.

“My life changed when I got a rainwater harvesting tank. Now we don’t have to walk far to collect water. The water from the tank is good. We can use it for all our household chores."

Aguti Anna Grace using a WaterAid rainwater harvesting tank in her compound in Aitacutuk village, Uganda.
Aguti uses the rainwater harvesting tank that changed her life.

Help get our bucket list off to a flying start. Tell world leaders to keep their promise to get taps and toilets to everyone everywhere by 2030. Sign the petition >