A guest blog by Nikki Armstrong of The One Foundation
Photograph: Ground Level Up
It is hugely poignant that this year, Mother’s Day falls on World Water Day.
Being a mum myself, and having visited our programmes on numerous occasions,
the biggest thing that always hits me is the universal language of motherhood.
I’ve been in communities and met multiple beneficiaries where neither of us speaks
the same language…yet we understand each other so very clearly as one mother to
Every mother wants the best for their children. Every mother wants to provide clean
water, nourishing food, a home, warmth and love.
As a mum, I cannot imagine the daily worry that you face when the only access that
you have to water is from a local river. When you have no other choice but to give
your child water that may make them sick.
I cannot imagine having to walk up to four hours a day with my baby on my back in
extreme heat, carrying 20 litres of water (….…it’s heavy believe me!).
The fact is women are the hardest hit by water shortage because they have the
primary responsibility for the management of household water supplies, sanitation
and health. This means :
• A huge impact on their time (women spend 16 million hours a day collecting
water in Sub-Saharan Africa vs 6 million for men) precluding work and education
in many cases
• Being physically exposed and therefore increased safety risks
• Hygiene issues around menstruations and pregnancy which require clean water
(Source: UNICEF )
This is the harsh and stark reality of what is happening around the world right now
and what we see time and time again.
This year, it will be 10 years since the United Nations recognised that access to
water and sanitation is a human right. And yet the world is a long way away from
844 million people globally lack access to safe water.
Over 2 billion people do not have a toilet of their own.
3.4 million people die every year….every year!….making water related diseases the
leading cause of death around the world.
(Source: Kathryn Karol of the Caterpillar Foundation Board.)
Our vision here at The One Foundation is very simple, to see a world in which
everyone has access to safe, clean water. Forever.
We work with leading WASH partners on the ground in four priority countries –
Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda and Malawi – to deliver lasting change at scale in both rural
and urban environments, varying our approach to meet local needs and focusing on
the provision of clean water and sanitation as a sustainable service for all.
In Kenya, we’re working in low-income areas in Nairobi and Naivasha to improve
water access through the installation of pre-paid water meters and household
connections. We also work with local utilities to provide the skills and the training so
that once we step away they can take on full ownership of service delivery
themselves – Ann and her five-year-old daughter Michelle now have access to
affordable, safe water through one of these kiosks and Ann earns an income from
working at the kiosk. We’re extremely proud to be making permanent changes to
lives like hers.
In Ghana we’re building our third water station – these are community owned water
treatment facilities that offer a 24/7 water supply to residents through pre-paid smart
meters, ATMs and mobile money payments.
Photograph: Ground Level Up
In the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, which severely impacted Malawi last year, we have
decontaminated and repaired over 140 damaged water points and are improving
water access at a local health centre for over 50,000 people. We are also upgrading
a water irrigation system that will help to improve economic recovery and food
security for over 11,000 people.
In Malawi and Rwanda, our work continues with Everyone Forever, a coordinated approach that is working with key stakeholders such as local government, communities and utilities to deliver improved water and sanitation services to over 1,782,154 people across five districts.: Water For People
As a Foundation, we were extremely proud to celebrate the milestone last year of
raising over £20m – which in the process has bought clean, safe water and improved
sanitation to over 3.8m people.
For these communities, the arrival of clean water gives mothers a chance to offer
their children a very different life. One filled with hope, health and prospects.
It’s a long road, but we are changing lives one day at a time and bottle at a time with
One Water and One Gin, both of which were created to help with the global water
So this Mother’s Day, what better gift than a beautiful award winning gin that gives
safe drinking water and adequate sanitation to mothers who need it most.
We will be celebrating mothers in the communities we support with
a small exhibition in Mews of Mayfair. Please drop-in