Amy Russell and Aaron Tharp are are walking 11 000 kilometres across Africa from Cape Town to Cairo to raise awareness and funds for clean water projects because they recognize that bringing safe water to everyone is the first step toward eliminating extreme poverty worldwide. Primary support is being given by driver, Marty Yoder who drives behind and alongside them.
This intrepid team are are raising funds for charity:water, which uses 100% of the money for clean water projects, working with grassroots organizations in the poorest countries around the world to create long-term, sustainable solutions to this global crisis.
They estimate that they will reach Port Elizabeth on Friday this week and will be staying a few days as their 1975 Landrover needs a bit of TLC. Whilst Marty is playing mechanic Amy and Aaron hope to volunteer at Oceans of Mercy. Contact Amy on 079 487 3630 if you would like to show some friendly Port Elizabeth hospitality and help with vehicle repairs and even accommodation/entertainment.
Amy estimates that they will take two years to complete the walk which is along the southern coast of Africa, proceeding up the East Coast of Africa to Cairo.
At present they are on the Cape Town side of Humansdorp and estimate that they will hit Jeffreys Bay on Wednesday and Port Elizabeth this Friday. If you see them on their travels give a wave and wish them well.
I will be at the East Cape Tourism Indaba so am EXPECTING the friendly people of Port Elizabeth to look after the madcap adventurers in a manner befitting our status as the Friendly City.
The charity:water project has so far funded 6 185 projects in 20 countries using 25 local partners.
Some statistics as published on the Walking For Water web site:
- 884 million people in the world do not have access to safe water. This is roughly one in eight of the world’s population. (WHO/UNICEF)
- 2.6 billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation, this is almost two fifths of the world’s population. (WHO/UNICEF)
- 1.4 million children die every year from diarrhea caused by unclean water and poor sanitation – 4,000 child deaths a day or one child every 20 seconds. (WHO/WaterAid)
- The integrated approach of providing water, sanitation and hygiene reduces the number of deaths caused by diarrhoeal diseases by an average of 65%. (WHO)
- The weight of water that women in Africa and Asia carry on their heads is commonly 20kg, the same as the average UK airport luggage allowance. (HDR)
- The average person in the developing world uses 10 litres of water every day for their drinking, washing and cooking. (WSSCC)
- The average European uses 200 litres of water every day for their drinking, washing and cooking. North Americans use 400 litres.
97.5% of the earth’s water is saltwater. If the world’s water fitted into a bucket, only one teaspoonful would be drinkable. (HDR)
443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related diseases (world bank)
- Almost two in three people lacking access to clean water survive on less than $2 a day, with one in three living on less than $1 a day. (World Bank)
- The poor are especially hard hit. A child born in Europe or the United States is 520 times less likely to die from diarrhoeal disease than an infant in sub-Saharan Africa, where only 36 per cent of the population can access hygienic sanitation. (Unicef)
- Women and girls are the “water haulers” of the world. On average, women and girls in developing countries walk 6 kilometers a day, carrying 20 litres of water, greatly reducing the time they have for other productive work or for girls to attend school.
- A cost-benefit analysis undertaken by the World Health Organization found that every $1 invested in achieving the Millennium Development targets on water and sanitation would yield returns between $3-$34 depending on the region. (Unicef)
- $46 billion – Amount spent per year globally on bottled water
- Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. (Charity Water)
- In Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year just walking for water. Women and children usually bear the burden of water collection, walking miles to the nearest source, which is unprotected and likely to make them sick (Charity Water).
- In areas where gathering water is impossible, small-scale private water distributors charge full market prices, forcing the poorest households to spend up to 11% of their income on life’s most basic need (Charity Water).
- Feeding our world takes up to 90% of our freshwater withdrawals but many people in developing nations still don’t have access to enough water for irrigation. When a water project is built in a community, members can often use the new water source to grow small gardens near their homes and secure their own food supply. (Charity Water).
- The United Nations Development Programme estimates the cost of meeting the MGD to be about $10 billion a year.” Again, that is for water and sanitation for half of those lacking. They add that the figure “…represents less than five days’ worth of global military spending and less than half what rich countries spend each year on mineral water.” The same report estimates that “universal access (to water and sanitation) would raise this figure to $20–$30 billion…” and that not addressing the problem will “…cost roughly nine times more than resolving it. (Living Water International).
- The average washing machine uses about 41 gallons per load (Earth 911).
- Leaky faucets that drip at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water each year. (Earth 911).
- A five-minute shower uses 10 to 25 gallons of water (Earth 911).
- Americans consume an estimated 1,500 water bottles per second. You can fill up to five, one-gallon jugs with water from your tap for about one cent (Earth 911).