Why the Wimbledon Foundation have joined forces with WaterAid to champion clean water

2 min read
Image: WaterAid/Ernest Randriarimalala

It’s hard to imagine becoming a Wimbledon Champion without having clean water to drink – it’s a vital ingredient to health and success. Yet, one in nine people around the world lack access to this basic resource.

Zeitu, 37, a mother of seven in Oromia, Ethiopia, has been collecting water for 30 years. On each journey to the spring, she takes around 10,500 steps, covering a distance of almost 8km while carrying a heavy container through water-logged fields and across slippery hills. This takes at least two hours every day.

Zeitu Mahmud, 37, is a mother of seven children. She has to walk almost eight kilometres everyday, a minimum of two hours two-way, to collect water for her family. Sometimes she does it twice. Dengeza, Safoge, Gololcha, Bale, Oromia, Ethiopia, May 2018.

While covering 10,000 steps is what many of us aim for in an attempt to keep fit, this daily trek means Zeitu has little time for much else other than doing the household chores.

For each trip, she walks four times further than the average male tennis player covers in a single match at Wimbledon (1,970m). She even covers more distance than last year’s Wimbledon Ladies champion, Venus Williams, did in all six of her matches (7,377m).

The Wimbledon Foundation has partnered with WaterAid to make sure trips like these are no longer normal. We will donate £100,000 annually for the next three years to help WaterAid make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for communities in three countries, Ethiopia, Malawi and Nepal, supporting WaterAid’s work in health centres, schools and communities.

Every day, WaterAid staff see the incredible impact that clean water close to home has on people’s lives. We want visitors at The Championships this year to share in this experience, and so we are thrilled to host our the first ever augmented reality exhibition at The Championships.

Zainab, 35, fetching water from a WaterAid installed pump in the village of Tamachi Mallah, Union Council Doomani,  District Thatta, Province Sindh, Pakistan, May 2018.

In this exhibition, visitors can get closer to the journeys people make around the world for water, just by activating the new AR option in the Wimbledon app. Zainab, a 35 year old from Pakistan, is one of those people. She used to spend three hours a day collecting water, but that changed a few months ago when WaterAid installed pumps at three points in her village.

Now, the walk to clean water is just 46 steps. Zainab spends that time making bamboo mats with her husband to sell, and socialising with the other women in the village.

It’s simple, but transformational change like this that makes the Wimbledon Foundation proud to champion clean water through our partnership with WaterAid and help to unleash the potential of people like Zainab and Zeitu around the world.

Try our quiz to find out if you cover as much ground as a Wimbledon Champion >