Nadiya Hussain launches WaterAid’s Thirst for Knowledge appeal to bring clean water and toilets to schools

Posted by
Lisa Martin
16 November 2021
Chris Terry

Author and TV chef Nadiya Hussain MBE is today launching WaterAid’s new appeal, Thirst for Knowledge, to help bring clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to schools worldwide, giving generations of girls the chance to build a better future.

Nadiya, an ambassador for the international charity since 2016, is adding her support to the campaign alongside the launch of her latest exciting ventures – her new BBC2 television series and book, both called Nadiya’s Fast Flavours.

Through its appeal, WaterAid will help bring clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to communities in Nepal and around the world, transforming tens of thousands of lives. The UK government will match public donations made between 16 November 2021 and 15 February 2022 up to £2 million, helping bring these vital facilities to 28,000 people and 30 schools in the Bardiya district of Nepal.

The Thirst for Knowledge appeal will help school children like Puja who lives in Lahan, south-eastern Nepal, almost 100 miles east of Kathmandu. Nepal’s extreme landscapes, earthquakes and changing climate all contribute to making it difficult to reach people with vital facilities.

The water in Puja’s school is yellow and dirty, and there’s only one toilet block, which, the headteacher says is in a ‘critical’ condition, meaning most children relieve themselves in the fields. Many girls skip school when on their period due to the lack of facilities.

Puja, 12, explains the problems she faces at school:

“There is water at the school, but it contains iron and stinks. I have fallen ill by drinking the water and [that] causes us to miss classes. I can’t fulfil my aims if I don’t study. Life is not possible without water, since we need water to do everything like drink, cook, clean, wash, sanitation, and personal hygiene.”

Women and girls are responsible for collecting water in 4 out of 5 households with water off the premises, putting their safety at risk and leaving little time to go to school or earn a living. Globally, 31% of schools have no basic water supply, and just over a third do not have decent toilets. In Nepal, the lack of facilities contributes to the fact that more than one in three adolescent girls leave school after finishing primary education.

Nadiya Hussain has seen the reality of life without clean water when visiting Bangladesh. She said:

“Every mother wants to provide their children with the best start in life, yet millions of parents around the world have no choice but to send their kids to a school with no clean water or toilets. Not only does this compromise their children’s health; it has a particularly detrimental impact on girls and traps whole communities in poverty. Without these basic facilities, another generation of girls and young women are being left behind.

 “The good news is that water can be an incredible catalyst for lasting change. With clean water, toilets and soap in schools, girls can complete their education and grow up on an equal footing, with the chance to earn a higher income and build better futures for themselves and their families. That’s why I’m so proud to support WaterAid’s Thirst for Knowledge appeal; together we can help transform lives for good.”

WaterAid’s appeal will help construct new, sustainable school water systems, decent toilets, and drinking water stations with handwashing facilities, enabling children to easily wash, drink and go to the toilet without missing lessons. Provision will be made for girls to manage their periods safely and hygienically, so they no longer worry about missing out on their education or fetching water.

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For more information, please contact:

Tim Thorowgood, Senior Media Officer [email protected] or Lisa Martin, Senior Media Officer [email protected]. Or call our after-hours press line on +44 (0)7887 521 552, or email [email protected].

Notes to Editors

UK Aid Match

The UK Government will all public match donations made to the Thirst for Knowledge appeal between 16 November 2021 and 15 February 2022, up to £2million, making double the impact for communities in Nepal. With the match funding the public will unlock from the UK government, WaterAid will work with local partners in the Bardiya district in Nepal to construct water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities in 30 schools, to promote children’s rights through child clubs and to run income-boosting activities such as making liquid soap and sanitary pads.


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 26.4 million people with clean water and 26.3 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.

  • 785 million people in the world – one in ten – do not have clean water close to home.[1]
  • 2 billion people in the world – almost one in four – do not have a decent toilet of their own.[2]
  • Around 310,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's almost 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 Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[2] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[3] Prüss-Ustün et al. (2014) and The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (2018)

[4] World Health organization (2012) Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage