Churches to save ‘Jars of Change’ this Lent to help WaterAid empower girls with clean water

13 January 2023
WaterAid/ Ernest Randriarimalala

Download ImagesThis Lent, WaterAid is inviting church congregations and faith groups across the UK to give up their chosen luxuries and donate the ‘Jars of Change’ they save to WaterAid’s appeal. The money raised will help transform the futures of girls in communities that lack access to clean water.

Congregation members are encouraged to think of something they use or buy often, from a cup of coffee to a bar of chocolate and refrain from these treats during Lent, collecting the money they save in a jar.  

The donations from WaterAid’s Jars of Change Lent Appeal will bring clean water to communities that lack access to it. One in ten people around the world don’t have clean water close to home and women and girls are disproportionately affected.  

Girls often bear the responsibility of walking for hours to collect water, instead of going to school. They are also often expected to stay at home and care for relatives who fall ill after drinking dirty water. This year the appeal focuses on raising funds to help bring clean water to girls around the world. 

Seido is 16 years old from Ethiopia, she has never been to school due to bearing the responsibility of fetching water needed for the survival of her family. She’d love the chance to learn – but as she is the eldest child, that’s a privilege she’s given to her younger siblings. 

Seido said:  

“There needs to be someone responsible for collecting water for our family, and that is me. The rest of my siblings go to school, and I want them to get their education.” 

Seido’s closest water source is a muddy pool five hours’ walk away in Oromia, central Ethiopia. After completing this trip there is little time left in the day – let alone for education.  

This Lent, by giving something up and donating the spare change you can help Seido and many girls like her across the world to be able to go to school instead of spending their days fetching dirty water.  

Malala is 16 years old like Seido and lives in the village of Ambohmanatrika, Madagascar. Until recently she was responsible for collecting water for her family with her sisters. They would boil the algae-filled water they had collected in the hopes it would stop them getting ill, unfortunately this was not the case. As a result, they were missing precious days of school.  

Thanks to the support of Churches and faith groups WaterAid raised over £70,000 for last year’s Lent appeal and worked with Malala’s community to bring a reliable supply of clean water to Ambohimanatrika. Malala is now able to go to school and has access to clean water.  

Malala said:  

"I honestly don’t think about fetching water anymore. I just fetch it at our tap after school. 

"When I’m older I would love to be a teacher. Seeing children makes me happy." 

Jennie York, Director of Communications and Fundraising at WaterAid said:   

 “Access to clean water should be normal for everyone everywhere, but today, 1 in 10 people have their access denied simply because of the circumstances they are born into. We know that women and girls are most affected and often bear the responsibility of collecting water for their family. 

 “Through our Jars of Change Lent appeal, churches can help change this reality. By giving up something this Lent and putting the savings aside, congregations can come together to help transform girls’ futures and give whole communities the gift of clean water.”  

WaterAid has developed a range of resources to support churches and faith groups with everything needed to fundraise this Lent. The pack includes Sunday School activities, a presentation of Seido and Malala’s stories, a fundraising poster, and jar sleeves. Other suggested activities include holding a pancake sale, organising a Lent lunch or hosting a craft session.   

To find out more and download the free resource pack, visit:  


Download ImagesFor more information, please contact: Hana Bel Haj, [email protected]

Or call our after-hours press line on +44 (0)7887 521 552, or email [email protected].  

Notes to Editors:  


WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 28 million people with clean water and nearly 29 million people with decent toilets.  

For more information, visit our website, follow us on Twitter @WaterAidUK, @WaterAid or @WaterAidPress, or find us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.  

  • 771 million people in the world – one in ten – do not have clean water close to home[1]. 
  • Almost 1.7 billion people in the world – more than one in five – do not have a decent toilet of their own[2]. 
  • Over 300,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's more than 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes[3]. 
  • Investing in safely managed water, sanitation and hygiene services provides up to 21 times more value than it costs[4]. 

[1] WHO/UNICEF (2021) Progress on household drinking water, sanitation and hygiene 2000-2020. Joint Monitoring Programme. Geneva: World Health Organisation. 

[2] WHO/UNICEF (2021) Progress on household drinking water, sanitation and hygiene 2000-2020. Joint Monitoring Programme. Geneva: World Health Organisation. 

[3] WaterAid calculations based on: Prüss-Ustün A, et al. (2019). Burden of Disease from Inadequate Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Selected Adverse Health Outcomes: An Updated Analysis with a Focus on Low- and Middle-Income Countries. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. vol 222, no 5, pp 765-777. AND The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (2020) Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Seattle, WA: University of Washington. 

[4] WaterAid. (2021) Mission-critical: Invest in water, sanitation and hygiene for a healthy and green economic recovery.