Join WaterAid’s Harvest Appeal to help bring clean water to those least responsible yet most affected by climate change
With climate change pushing global food insecurity to an all-time high, international charity WaterAid is inviting community groups, faith groups and schools across the UK to support its annual Harvest Appeal and empower those most affected. Groups are encouraged to fundraise by hosting a harvest supper, or through a wide range of other activities included in WaterAid’s free resource pack. By fundraising, groups will be helping to increase global access to clean water, and support those on the frontlines of climate change including communities in Bonam, Burkina Faso who depend on water to grow food.
Justine Sawadogo, aged 30, lives in this region, where no rain falls for eight months out of the year. Now, climate change is making water scarcity even worse. As a farmer, Justine, like most in her community, is reliant on rain to grow millet, beans and groundnuts to earn an income and support her family. Recently, dry seasons have been getting longer, and rainfall has grown more unpredictable.
Justine said: “I have heard that before, the rains were enough, and people managed to grow and harvest enough food. But now it’s not like that. The rains are not enough, the land is not good enough, and despite our efforts we are struggling to harvest enough to feed ourselves.”
As her village waits for the rain to fall, the rivers and wells dry up, food begins to run out and women walk for miles and queue for hours to find water. With a strong passion and dedication to her community, Justine is now trained to check a water gauge that helps her community manage and monitor water supplies and make decisions when resources are low. She said:
“My grandmother told me to never put things above people. Consider that everyone in this world is your family. The little you have or will have, share it with someone more needy than you. All humanity is family.”
Mayaman Malle, aged 55, is a market gardener in the Segou region of Mali, where WaterAid’s Community Water Resilience Support Project, funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, has been transforming lives with clean water during the past year. Mayaman’s community now has a reliable source of clean water, helping market gardeners like her make two harvests and enjoy the financial security that brings, despite the changing climate.
Mayaman said: “The construction of the borehole has motivated everyone again. We start earlier and make two harvests now as we have more water available. We harvested the first round of vegetables, and we have already sold a large part of the second round as well. Previously, many of our vegetables did not grow because of the lack of water, including tomatoes, cabbages, and beets. But the construction of the borehole has changed that. They all grew well this year.”
By joining WaterAid’s Harvest Appeal, supporters can bring this change to the lives of people like Justine, aiding them to continue to grow crops, and strengthen their community’s capacity to deal with the climate crisis.
Felicity de Ste Croix, Communities and Volunteering Manager at WaterAid, said:
“With global food security concerns and the cost-of-living crisis taking its total it is vital that now, more than ever, we come together to do what we can to help communities struggling with the devastating impact of climate change. We have seen evidence of the climate crisis through the recent extreme weather conditions here in the UK, and the effect is even more catastrophic for those without access to clean water. The support from community groups has always played a key role in our fundraising, and together, we hope to help those across the globe have access to clean water and with it, good harvests.”
WaterAid’s free Harvest resource pack includes delicious recipes from Burkina Faso for meal inspiration, as well as supporting materials for classroom and youth group activities ranging from a simple collection through a teddy bear’s picnic and a rainwater collecting contest. To sign up or find out more visit: www.wateraid.org/uk/harvest
Written by: Aarabi Baheerathan