Join WaterAid’s Harvest Appeal to help bring clean water to those least responsible yet most affected by climate change

Posted by
Aarabi Baheerathan
on
27 September 2022
WaterAid/ Basile Ouedraogo

With climate change pushing global food insecurity to an all-time high, international charity WaterAid is inviting community groups, faith groups and schools across the UK to support its annual Harvest Appeal and empower those most affected. Groups are encouraged to fundraise by hosting a harvest supper, or through a wide range of other activities included in WaterAid’s free resource pack. By fundraising, groups will be helping to increase global access to clean water, and support those on the frontlines of climate change including communities in Bonam, Burkina Faso who depend on water to grow food. 

Justine Sawadogo, aged 30, lives in this region, where no rain falls for eight months out of the year. Now, climate change is making water scarcity even worse. As a farmer, Justine, like most in her community, is reliant on rain to grow millet, beans and groundnuts to earn an income and support her family. Recently, dry seasons have been getting longer, and rainfall has grown more unpredictable.  

Justine said: “I have heard that before, the rains were enough, and people managed to grow and harvest enough food. But now it's not like that. The rains are not enough, the land is not good enough, and despite our efforts we are struggling to harvest enough to feed ourselves.” 

As her village waits for the rain to fall, the rivers and wells dry up, food begins to run out and women walk for miles and queue for hours to find water. With a strong passion and dedication to her community, Justine is now trained to check a water gauge that helps her community manage and monitor water supplies and make decisions when resources are low.

She said:  “My grandmother told me to never put things above people. Consider that everyone in this world is your family. The little you have or will have, share it with someone more needy than you. All humanity is family.” 

Mayaman Malle, 55, crouching with a watering can among the salad plants inside the women's market garden, in the village of Tigama, Bla, Segou Region, Mali, March 2022.
Mayaman Malle, 55, crouching with a watering can among the salad plants inside the women's market garden, in the village of Tigama, Bla, Segou Region, Mali, March 2022.
WaterAid/ Basile Ouedraogo

Mayaman Malle, aged 55, is a market gardener in the Segou region of Mali, where WaterAid’s Community Water Resilience Support Project, funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, has been transforming lives with clean water during the past year. Mayaman's community now has a reliable source of clean water, helping market gardeners like her make two harvests and enjoy the financial security that brings, despite the changing climate. 

Mayaman said: “The construction of the borehole has motivated everyone again. We start earlier and make two harvests now as we have more water available. We harvested the first round of vegetables, and we have already sold a large part of the second round as well. Previously, many of our vegetables did not grow because of the lack of water, including tomatoes, cabbages, and beets. But the construction of the borehole has changed that. They all grew well this year.” 

By joining WaterAid’s Harvest Appeal, supporters can bring this change to the lives of people like Justine, aiding them to continue to grow crops, and strengthen their community’s capacity to deal with the climate crisis. 

Felicity de Ste Croix, Communities and Volunteering Manager at WaterAid, said: 

“With global food security concerns and the cost-of-living crisis taking its total it is vital that now, more than ever, we come together to do what we can to help communities struggling with the devastating impact of climate change. We have seen evidence of the climate crisis through the recent extreme weather conditions here in the UK, and the effect is even more catastrophic for those without access to clean water. The support from community groups has always played a key role in our fundraising, and together, we hope to help those across the globe have access to clean water and with it, good harvests.” 

WaterAid’s free Harvest resource pack includes delicious recipes from Burkina Faso for meal inspiration, as well as supporting materials for classroom and youth group activities ranging from a simple collection through a teddy bear’s picnic and a rainwater collecting contest. To sign up or find out more visit: www.wateraid.org/uk/harvest 

ENDS 

For further information about WaterAid, please contact Aarabi Baheerathan, [email protected] . Alternatively 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 27 million people with clean water and 27 million people with decent toilets. For more information, visit www.wateraid.org, follow @WaterAidUK or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or find WaterAid UK on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wateraid. 

  • 771 million people in the world – one in ten – do not have clean water close to home.[1]
  • 1.7 billion people in the world – more than one in five – do not have a decent toilet of their own.[2]  
  • Around 290,000 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] 
  • Every £1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of £4 in increased productivity.[4] 
  • Just £15 can provide one person with clean water.[5] 
  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. World Health organization (2012) Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage  

  5. www.wateraid.org