It has been a privilege to have been chosen to write on an issue I feel particularly passionate about. Initially I became interested in WaterAid due to its amazing work on all matters of water. However upon joining, I realised that their work delves much deeper into the causes of global poverty. Especially as there has been a great shift in the development world towards exploring water related issues further by understanding WASH – which stands for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.
Setting up a local WaterAid group in West Essex enabled me to contribute to the great cause of improving the accessibility of water resources worldwide, but it also allowed me to grasp a greater understanding of the problems and solutions at hand. At the first local group meeting I attended at the WaterAid Head Office, it was quickly established that, “here at WaterAid we love to talk about poo!” The topic of faecal process is arguably one that many people have difficulty in talking about, and so the topic has become stigmatised and is shied away from in public discussions. However, it is crucial that is addressed since 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to adequate sanitation, and subsequently face the dangers of faecal bacterial illnesses. Since 2004, WaterAid have been able to reach 18 million people in need of access to adequate sanitation facilities – nothing so satisfying but a good working toilet!
Looking at water problems from all aspects and engaging with local communities to implement sustainable solutions, is something I believe will help achieve WaterAid’s goal for everyone everywhere to have access to clean water and sanitation by 2030. In line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals of ‘ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all ages’, I believe WaterAid and other similar organisations are going in the right direction to providing communities with improved sanitation facilities and more importantly campaigning the need to practice better hygiene.
We are urging politicians and the public to get behind this cause and to ensure that taps and toilets are included in the parties international aid agenda. We want politicians to implement the WaterAid manifesto, which can be accessed here: http://www.wateraid.org/uk/get-involved/campaigns/vote-for-taps-and-toilets
Get involved and encourage others to ‘talk about their poo too!’
By Nitisha Acharya, WaterAid Volunteer from London, part of the action/2015 youth network.
For more information on the action/2015 campaign and youth click here. The action/2015 Youth Panel is co-facilitated by British Youth Council, BOND, Islamic Relief, Progressio and Restless Development and Y Care International.