Comment: We need your support on World Water Day

Just a Drop founder Fiona Jeffery calls on the travel industry to back the charity’s efforts to raise awareness and funds

Millions of women walk for hours every day, just to collect water. But how far would you go?

This is the question that I am asking the travel industry as part of World Water Day this Wednesday, March 22, 2023. The reality is that nearly 25 years after I started Just a Drop at World Travel Market, and despite us reaching over 1.9 million people with safe water, there’s still so much work to do.

A lack of safe water impacts 771 million people globally, and commonly it’s women and girls that pay the price. They not only spend hours walking to collect water that is dirty and will make them ill, but the walk can be dangerous, and the sheer time it takes to fetch the water prevents them from spending time with their families or finding any sort of meaningful way to contribute to their household income. It’s a vicious circle that intensifies gender inequality and keeps communities stuck in a cycle of poverty.

This is why Just a Drop has been working with leading creative agency, VCCP, to find a way to amplify the issue. At the heart of the campaign is Ann, a real-life 32 year old woman with two children living in the semi-arid Kitui County in Kenya. She walks 9km each day to collect water for her family. Like so many other women, Ann makes this long walk to the well every day of her life.

At the same time, we found out that the average person scrolls through about 2km of content per day, so we wanted to use this behaviour for good.

This is how the #WalktotheWell came about. VCCP developed the longest Twitter thread ever made – with over 2,000 tweets, each representing just over four metres of Ann’s daily journey. The campaign invites Twitter users to scroll this 9km walk on Twitter, prompting them to like the tweet and donate when they’ve reached their limit. It shows the reality faced by millions of women every day – the hours it takes to fetch water for their families.

Like Ann’s community, on the edge of Mwingi National Reserve, many of the communities Just a Drop works with are on the door step of the areas of beauty that the travel industry profits from every day. Communities like Ann’s miss out on the benefits that tourism brings so this campaign is an opportunity to get behind a relevant cause and transform lives.

I’d like to challenge the industry to scroll Ann’s #Walktothewell and see how far you can get. To access the thread, click here and start scrolling to take on the challenge.  If you can’t make it to the end, then like the tweet that you get to, this will show you just how far you’ve managed to go and how far Ann still has to walk.

And if you’d like to help women like Ann by preventing these needless journeys from happening every day, please follow the prompt to donate to Just a Drop and then retweet and share the campaign as widely as you can.

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