This May, join WE Walk for Water and help bring clean water resources to people around the world.

By Amy Van Es

 

Picture it: You wake up in the morning and there’s no tap water. You can’t brush your teeth; you can’t shower. Next you’re at school. You need to go to the washroom, but there’s no toilet to flush because no water equals no sanitation system. Back at home, you’re thirsty, but you can’t pour yourself a glass of cold water—it’s simply not available.

Imagine it, an absence of clean, accessible water resources. Now imagine it’s your job to fix it.

Surviving without easy access to this life essential is a reality for many communities in developing countries. For some women and children in these areas, more hours of the day are spent walking to collect water than doing anything else. For these individuals, maintaining the family’s water reserve is their most important job. Take girls in Tanzania, who can spend many hours a day collecting water for their families—trekking back and forth in the hot, arid climate. For students the same age in North America, that’s about a full school day.

It goes without saying that this type of daily labour affects one’s health, livelihood and education. Change is possible, though. By bringing clean water resources to a community, the burden of water collection is removed and social transformation begins. Without the need to walk hours a day to fetch water, girls can attend school, parents can run sustainable farms and families can begin to break the cycle of poverty.

This is where you come in. Allow us to introduce WE Walk for Water, a global fundraising campaign aimed at providing clean water to families around the world.

We know positive change is possible. Just look at the statistics: in 2015, 91 per cent of the world’s population had access to an improved drinking water source. In WE’s partner communities alone, projects led by WE Villages have provided one million people with clean water and sanitation. How? It’s the direct result of people like you taking action on the issue of water scarcity.

Tackling this pressing global issue is easier than it sounds. With WE Walk for Water, all you have to do is gather a group of enthusiastic change-makers, give each the responsibility of raising $25, and you’ve triggered world-changing impact. Every $25  contributes to a water project, ensuring students, families and whole communities receive clean water.

Now, before we get down to the nitty-gritty of how to get your WE Walk for Water campaign going, let us remind you: whether you choose to include your classmates, family, work colleagues or to open it up to the entire community, there are as many ways to make this campaign your own as there are drops in the ocean. Scroll through our guide to find the approach that works best for you! Should you need guidance along the way, look no further than WE’s trusty online resources for a helping hand.


WE Walk for Water at school.

Fundraising is anything but a snoozefest. It’s all about action—taking action!

To get your classmates as excited about the cause as you, think of ways to make collecting donations about more than asking people to reach into their pockets. Get interactive!

Raising awareness is key when it comes to WE Walk for Water. Help people get excited by planning a carnival day with an informative twist: no water games. What better way to call attention to the cause than highlighting the root issue? Try setting up a dunk game, but instead of the target getting dumped into a bath of water when hit, have them fall into a giant bucket of balls. Every ticket sale becomes a chance to share a fact about water scarcity. Bet there are more than a few students who would pledge if it meant spending an afternoon dunking a teacher instead of going to class!

Carnival sound too complicated? No problem, it’s easy to go simple. Begin by creating a CrowdRise campaign. With zero running around required (and no brown envelope stuffed with bills to worry about), all you have to do is send out the campaign page link to friends and family and ask them to spread the word. If you’re swamped with school work and extracurricular activities, this is the most time efficient way to take part in the campaign.

Pro-tip: School hallways are a great place to build buzz around your campaign. Stick up posters above water fountains to remind students how hard it is for others to access clean water, or use your lunch break to set up an informational booth where you can collect pledges while spreading the word about your campaign. And don’t forget to recruit teachers for help. Maybe one can even get your campaign into the morning announcements!

WE Walk for Water at home.

Helping your family understand the importance of water is easy to slip into day-to-day life. We recommend using family time to teach and pledge! Start small and set a goal to get everyone in your home to raise $25 each. Then, if you want to go bigger, simply invite your extended family to join, too. Reach out directly to your favourite aunt, a distant cousin (opportunity to reconnect!) or your ever-encouraging grandparent; each will be happy to contribute to the cause after learning more.

Once you have your participants, plan a field trip. Organize a walk to a local water source, like a lake, pond or creek, and get each member of your family to collect water in a large jug to carry back home. Be sure not to ditch this water (conservation, remember?), use it to water your plants.

Trust us, this little jaunt will help teach participants what life is like for the millions of women and children overseas responsible for collecting their family’s water. Afterwards, be sure to spend time reflecting together on the day. We suspect everyone will see that tap in your kitchen a little differently by the end.

 

WE Walk for Water at work and in the community.

Go big!

Open your campaign up to involve more than friends and family; get work colleagues, neighbours and other members of your community involved. How? Well with a walk, of course. It’s easy!

Step 1: Plan a route that will match the distance families walk to fetch clean water. This varies based on location. For example, in Osenetoi, Kenya, a water walk is 5 km. Research to find a distance that works best for your participants.

Step 2: Collect donations! The more people involved, the higher you can set your pledge goal.

Step 3: Carry signs to raise awareness. (Your posters may even attract a few more people to walk with you along the way!) Check out our resource page and collect some statistics to include on your signs. You could even take some right from this article!

Raising awareness is just as important as fundraising—if you can get people to think about water scarcity, you can get them to actively conserve water at home and help support clean water initiatives internationally. Take action today; join us as WE Walk for Water!

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