Why I won’t be doing the Ice-Bucket Challenge

“It’s easy to forget what a miracle water is. With a water supply on tap, food can grow, and people can thrive.”
Oxfam Website

A shiver goes down my back. I’ve just been nominated for the Ice-bucket Challenge. What should I do?

If I don’t take-up the challenge I will look mean-spirited and a kill-joy, but if I do take-up the challenge I’ll go against principles that I feel strongly about.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I am all about publicising a good cause and making money for it through publicity stunts and using social media – but I do think that in this case we may have lost sight of what’s important. I have also seen Ice Bucket Challenges on social media that don’t even mention donating money – it’s just become a fashionable thing to do – the activity that you don’t want to be left out of!
As one of my friends said “All well and good to raise awareness and money for a good cause but…it’s turned into a wet t-shirt contest for some.”

But, one of the main things I am struggling with is the sheer waste of clean water. Clean water is something I take for granted – I turn the tap on and hey presto there it is – to drink, to cook with, to shower in.

But in so many places in the world– clean water is often a luxury! Something that is a basic necessity to survive is a luxury!? How can that be?

Oxfam’s website says the following:
“Every day, 2000 children die from diarrhoea caused by dirty water. This is just a proportion of the 4 million deaths from water-related diseases and poor sanitation each year. Worldwide, almost 1 billion people lack access to safe water and sanitation.
In emergencies, many more lives are put at risk by inadequate water supplies and poor sanitation. It’s estimated that each person needs 15 litres of water per day for drinking, cooking, and washing in an emergency.”

Look at the stats again! 1 BILLION PEOPLE LACK ACCESS TO SAFE WATER. 2000 CHILDREN DIE FROM DIARRHOEA CAUSED BY DIRTY WATER. 4 MILLION DEATHS FROM WATER RELATED DISEASES. And what are we in the West doing with this precious resource? Dumping it on our heads!

Yes – I accept that a lot of money has been raised for a good cause – I completely accept that. But, let’s put it into perspective. The bulk of the money from the ice-bucket challenge has been raised for ALS Association a charity in America where it is estimated that around 30,000 Americans may have ALS at any given time. 30,000 people with ALS…so much money has been raised for them so far – and I hope that the money raised is put to good use. I really do.

But my thoughts are with the 1 billion people who need clean water. And so instead of doing the ice-bucket challenge I will be donating money to Oxfam to get clean water to the people who need it. Did you know that £63 could supply safe water to 120 people?

So, no ice water on me my friends….sorry – but this is one challenge I won’t be taking up! Perhaps we could come up with a more sustainable, eco-friendly way of raising money? Suggestions on a postcard!

PS: Water Aid talk about sustainable approaches to the challenge – worth a read!

PPS: My sister runs the Ewaso Lions Project in Samburu in Kenya and this was their post on Facebook on 24th August:
“Rain! Its been months since we have had rain in the area -and yesterday afternoon and again a few hours ago, it finally rained in Buffalo Springs, Archers Post, Westgate and other areas around. We had a huge hail storm in camp and despite the fact that our tents collapsed, things broke, paperwork and equipment went flying (we have spend the day fixing and repairing, and all is ok) – we are so excited that it has rained and hope it continues! This is much needed rain for the local people and their livestock, and the wildlife of the area.”
Now that’s one hell of an ice-bucket challenge!! But, it does show how much water means to her, the people she works with the animals she cares for! www.ewasolions.org

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