Linda Shurlock first visited her local MP as part of our 'Water Works' campaign. She explains how she plucked up the courage to visit and ended up influencing government decisions at an international level.

If you took me back 18 months ago, there was no way I'd have said that I would do something like join a campaign or contact my MP. It just wasn't me, I wasn't a "campaigner". But now I've taken action and spoken to a Parliamentarian, I know just how much a difference it can make to people who need our help. If I can do it, so can you!

I have to confess, I cancelled my first appointment with my MP – it wasn't because I was intimidated by meeting a member of the Cabinet or worried that I wouldn't know what to say (I had all the information I needed in my briefing – one of the wonderful things about WaterAid is that supporters are given lots of support). No, the reason for my cold feet was that to get there I had to drive through Haslemere and I always get lost there! 

Later, I reflected on my decision and what it meant in the grand scheme of things – the scale of the water and sanitation crisis is so vast, how could WaterAid tackle it alone? I thought to myself, "Governments must play their part – otherwise we'll never reach those millions of people without clean water". This put my driving worries into perspective and I soon booked another appointment.

So, that's how I came to find myself in Haslemere, waiting to meet my MP – Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP! When I got there it was less scary than I thought. Knowing that I was well prepared thanks to the WaterAid briefing pack and buoyed by my knowing that it really matters that we convince MPs, I got across all my key points and had a really interesting discussion. He said he would write to the International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell and encourage him to attend an important meeting coming up at the World Bank in Washington. Mission accomplished!

Then, a few weeks later, I heard the news that Mr Mitchell had agreed to attend the meeting. What a champion moment! It felt so rewarding to be part of that huge effort that had achieved this – because it wasn't just me. Work by WaterAid staff combined with thousands of emails, hundreds of supporter letters and dozens of visits to MPs made a difference.

A single visit to one MP might seem small but I felt like I'd done something extraordinary. And I had. 

But the story doesn't end there. In April 2012, Mr Mitchell announced from Washington that he was to double the UK's commitment to water and sanitation. It was a profoundly moving moment for me. I felt so proud that I'd been part of WaterAid's campaign which has resulted in a pledge to provide 60 million people with access to water and sanitation by 2015. 

Eighteen months later, the word "campaigns" or "campaigner" don't frighten me anymore. They make me feel proud. And I know I'm not alone because we are all capable of being campaigners, even if we don't know it yet. However big or small our actions, if we work together, we can deliver extraordinary things.

– Taken from Linda's presentation at the WaterAid Annual Supporters' meeting, September 2012.