International charity WaterAid is inviting congregations, schools, and community groups across the UK to support its annual Harvest Appeal and help bring clean water to people around the world living on the frontline of climate change. By hosting a harvest supper or taking a collection, groups can raise vital funds for rural communities, including those in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, who are struggling to grow crops due to rising temperatures and longer droughts.
Almost six in 10 people in Ethiopia don’t have access to clean water close to home. The changing climate is making life even harder for many. With rising temperatures and rainfall becoming more unpredictable, lives and futures are under threat. Most families in Ethiopia depend on farming for their livelihoods, but without a reliable source of water, farmers can’t irrigate their land and when droughts hit, their crops often fail.
Bernesh, 40, lives in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. Like most people in her community, she and her husband are coffee farmers, but growing coffee requires water. Up until recently, water in Bernesh’s village was so scarce it had to be rationed. Families could only use the local hand-dug well once every two days and were allowed just four jerry cans of water. For Bernesh’s family of eight, that was five litres per person, per day, to cover all their household needs.
Bernesh was only allowed to collect water for her coffee plants once a month so relied on the rain to keep her plants alive. But over the years, the changing climate has made things harder for her. Rainfall became less predictable, making it difficult for Bernesh to grow her coffee and earn a living.
Coffee is the main source of our family’s income. Our life depends on the produce. This year, it didn’t rain on time, and it affected our crops. Water is very important for coffee. If the coffee plant doesn’t get water, it dries up. Water is very scarce in our area, so we always wait for the rain, since it’s the only means by which our farm gets enough water.”
Last harvest, churches and community groups in the UK raised £80,000 for WaterAid, helping bring clean water to communities around the world for the first time. This year, groups who support the Harvest Appeal can make a difference to the lives of people like Bernesh and her family to enable them to grow crops and face the future with confidence. By fundraising for WaterAid, participating groups can ensure that some of the poorest communities around the world have a reliable source of clean water and can better protect themselves against the devastating impacts of climate change.
Judit Palotai, Senior Community Marketing Officer at WaterAid, said:
Faith groups, schools, and community groups play a vital role in WaterAid’s work, bringing much-needed funds to transform lives with clean water. By coming together this harvest, groups across the UK can help ensure that families around the world have enough to eat and drink and can be healthy and financially secure. The simple gift of clean water means others can have harvests worth celebrating.
WaterAid has developed a range of free resources to inspire congregations, schools, and community groups. The pack includes a poster, youth group/classroom activities, fundraising ideas, resources for group leaders, and an assembly resource for schools.
To find out more and to order a free resource pack, visit: www.wateraid.org/uk/harvest
Written By: Alice Barnard