UK supporters tell ministers 'water is just the beginning'

Thousands of WaterAid supporters joined our call to tell the Department for International Development that 'water is just the beginning'.


26 Mar 2013 | UK

On World Water Day this year, thousands of WaterAid supporters joined our call to tell the Department for International Development (DFID) that 'water is just the beginning'. Rebecca Owen, Senior Supporter Engagement Officer, feeds back on what the Minister had to say when she saw your postcards.

Today your voice was heard in Westminster - together with colleagues from our Policy and Campaigns team, I took all your World Water Day messages to the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development, Lynne Featherstone, who accepted them on behalf of the Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening.

Your postcards made quite an impression, filling nine buckets – all supporting the UK Government’s commitment to reach 60 million people with water and sanitation and telling them why you think it’s so important that they keep their promise to help everyone, everywhere have safe access to clean safe water.

  • Judith from Christchurch highlighted the impact on girls’ education: “If a village has access to water, then the girls can go to school instead of fetching water. If we educate girls it will hugely benefit future generations in all sorts of ways.”

  • Dorothy from Faversham wrote: “Everyone has the right to clean, safe water not only to drink but also to keep clean. It gives people dignity and self-respect leading, in many cases, to better education and therefore employment.”

  • Celia reminded the Government: “This commitment will mean the end of disease and premature death for millions of people, and the beginning of a standard of living and life which we take for granted. Thank you for this far-reaching promise.” 

  • Zerine from Wembley pointed out the importance to health programmes: “There is no point in having a vaccination programme without being able to provide clean water and sanitation. Water is something we just cannot live without.”

  • Alexander from Aberdeen said simply: “We all have the right to basic clean water.”

Lynne Featherstone was delighted to receive the messages, and expressed her support, saying, “You’re preaching to the converted.” The hand-in also gave us the opportunity to tell her how keen all our supporters were to know the progress the Department for International Development (DFID) was making towards fulfilling its promise.

She told us that she is confident that the target of 60 million with water and sanitation will be achieved by the end of 2015. She acknowledged that doubling the target had been a challenge but said that the Government already have firm plans on where and how the first 50 million people will be reached, and have a set of clear proposals that are awaiting ministerial approval on how to reach the remaining ten million. 

This is fantastic news and we look forward to sharing more details with you as we receive them. Thank you to everyone who took the time to help us have this important meeting by writing such personal messages. 

I hope you'll agree this is good news. Why not tweet the Department of International Development and Lynne Featherstone a message of support to show that you care about this promise?

Tweet Lynne Featherstone MP to tell her your support WaterAid >