Three years, three countries, three goals – celebrating the end of a landmark campaign
As our UK Aid-matched campaign, Deliver Life, comes to an end, WaterAid UK's CEO Tim Wainwright reflects on life-changing stories from Ethiopia, Malawi and Rwanda.
A mother giving birth in a clean environment with her dignity protected. Health professionals empowered to carry out their work. Children staying in school. These are just a glimpse of the life-changing stories from across Ethiopia, Malawi and Rwanda during our momentous Deliver Life project.
For millions of people around the world, clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene are still not a normal part of daily life. WaterAid believes this needs to change for people to be able to break free from poverty – and we’re not alone. In 2015, our supporters raised more money than they ever had before – almost £5 million – for a life-changing project: Deliver Life.
Throughout the winter of 2015, we focused on the transformation of one health centre in Kiomboi, Tanzania – but that was just the beginning of a much bigger story. The UK Government matched the total raised pound for pound meaning we were able to extend our work to not one, but three more countries all facing significant challenges in their access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.
A mother’s view
Giving birth in a health centre without these essentials can be a matter of life and death. Doctors, midwives and cleaners struggle to do their jobs and women and their babies are exposed to life-threatening infections as well as the loss of dignity experienced without a private place to wash or go to the toilet.
But at Nzangwa Health Centre in Rwanda, water now runs 24 hours a day, meaning staff can work in a safer environment and mothers no longer have to collect their own water. Plus, the money saved on bringing water from the nearest village is now spent on medicine and a cleaning team.
Ruth, who gave birth to her second child at the centre just after water arrived, looks back on the change:
“It was a different time. Four years ago, I would need to fetch water from the lake whether I was pregnant or not. A lot of pregnant women deliver every day. The delivery room needs to be cleaned after every birth. Midwives would not have been able to get clean a delivery room without enough water. So having water is very important for the midwives to do their job well.”
“None of the previous health centres I worked for had water because they were in the villages. It's simply not that easy when you don’t have water in the delivery room. It starts from the midwife washing his hands before and after the procedure and between helping two mothers... Now we have clean water that we can wash with, but also the mothers can wash before they go home.” Samuel Nshimyumukita, midwife, Bugesera, Rwanda Made possible with #UKaid from the British people @dfid_uk #Aidworks #DeliverLife
What you helped us achieve
The story of Nzangwa Health Centre is just one illustration of the powerful impact of UK Aid, and of what your incredible support achieves. Campaigns like Deliver Life have a powerful ripple effect. Clean water means safer futures for women and girls, a chance for a better education for children and the empowerment of communities to demand their human rights. Check out this gallery to explore what we call ‘the water effect’ in action.
Our work with individuals and communities is the story we most often tell. But it's also worth noting that Deliver Life coincided with a successful global campaigning focus for WaterAid, Healthy Start. Healthy Start is a co-ordinated effort across all our teams focused on persuading decision-makers to improve the health and nutrition of newborn babies and children by integrating their health plans with investment in clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene.
By persuading governments to change their health policies and plans to integrate water, sanitation and hygiene, we can start to change normal on a much bigger scale, and that's the route to reaching everyone, everywhere within a generation.
I would like to thank you for joining us on this remarkable journey.
Deliver Life’s aim was to change lives for more than 122,000 people living across remote, rural locations in Ethiopia, Malawi and Rwanda. We worked to improve water and sanitation facilities in 22 health centres with maternity wards, and 10 schools. Bespoke hygiene behaviour change programmes were rolled out in all three countries, transforming understanding and practice of good hygiene for thousands of people.