WaterAid urges churches to adopt new green habits this Lent and help communities hit by climate change

Posted by
Kirstin Gentleman
22 February 2021
WaterAid/Abir Abdullah

This Lent, WaterAid is encouraging church congregations to raise money for those being impacted by climate change around the world by switching to more environmentally-friendly habits.

Churchgoers are being invited to pick up a new climate-conscious habit this Lenten season, such as giving up their favourite packaged treat or cycling instead of driving wherever possible, and putting the money saved into a Jar of Change.

The money raised through the Jars of Change Appeal will help to bring clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene to poor communities around the world that are already feeling the impacts of the climate crisis.

Longer droughts are drying up springs, unpredictable rains are affecting crops, and more frequent and extreme flooding is polluting fragile water sources with salt, mud or faeces. People need a reliable supply of water that keeps pumping through flood, drought and natural disaster.

This Lent, churches will help people like Mouri, 45, from coastal Bangladesh, who has no clean water close to home. Every day, she walks across the cracked, barren land to a muddy pond to collect dirty water for her family, which makes them all sick, meaning expensive medical bills. The water became contaminated when Cyclone Aila tore through the country and flooded whole communities. It stole Mouri’s home, it stole her clean water, and the fertile soil which sustained her family.

Across Bangladesh, nearly 5 million people don’t have clean water. But this Lent, church congregations can transform lives, helping ensure people like Mouri have clean water that keeps flowing through disasters, helping people stay healthy and improving education and livelihoods.  

Molia, 47, is from Mozambique, which is highly vulnerable to cyclones, drought and other extreme weather events. The nearest water source to Molia’s village was 5km away. Molia and three other women dug holes in the sand to find water, but these sandpits provided only dirty, unprotected water which made people ill.

WaterAid worked in Molia’s village to help build a solar-powered water pump, supplying a reliable source of clean drinking water.

Molia said:

“My life has improved. I can pray on time, I wash my clothes and do light work. Lately, I have spent most of my time with my daughter.”

Just £15 could provide a child with water and if a church group raises £288, it could help to pay to test the water quality at four well sites in climate-vulnerable communities, so they can make sure their water keeps them healthy.

As many congregations are currently coming together online, WaterAid has followed suit, offering churches everything they need to participate digitally; including an all-age talk, Sunday School activities, and stories from climate-vulnerable communities around the world.

Congregations can pay in their fundraising online through our website and via JustGiving.

Marcus Missen, Director of Communications & Fundraising at WaterAid, said:

“By raising money for WaterAid’s Jars of Change Lent appeal, church congregations can help vulnerable families like Mouri’s cope with the  changing climate, by giving them a lasting supply of clean water.

“Making one small change to your daily routine this Lent could transform lives, providing clean water to the 1 in 10 people worldwide who don’t currently have access to this basic service. Clean water allows people like Mouri and Molia an equal chance to be healthy, educated and financially secure.”   

Find out more at www.wateraid.org.


For more information, please contact:

Maya Verber, Senior Media Officer, [email protected]

Or call our press line on +44 (0)7887 521 552 or email [email protected]


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 www.wateraid.org/uk, follow @WaterAid or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or find WaterAid UK on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wateraid.

  • 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

[5] www.wateraid.org