It’s Blog Action Day today and the theme this year is WATER…I was invited to guest-write for Church Mouse’s blog…here’s a link and below is my post!
Hello everyone, Superbadger here, guest writing as part of Blog Action Day 2010 which this year focuses on water. Allow me to introduce myself, 3 years ago Tearfund asked me to help them with their campaigning and since then an army of Superbadgers has risen up from within the church, passionate about speaking up on behalf of poor people around the world using digital media, social networks and smart phones to get access to decision makers around the world. My friends we’ve used Facebook to badger Obama, Tweeted the UN Secretary General and multinational corporations and we even challenged David Cameron on his first day as Prime Minister to use his term of office to ensure that the promises within the Millennium Development Goals to halve extreme poverty by 2015 are achieved.
Today is Blog Action Day but it is also Global Handwashing Day…a celebration of a tiny act, so often overlooked, which has an immense impact.
Today more children will die due to diarrhoeal disease caused by dirty water and poor sanitation than AIDS, measles and malaria combined. This is an issue forgotten by those in power but the Church can be the voice of so many, calling out for justice, calling out for access to clean, safe drinking water and decent sanitation for all.
This is 13 year old Stidia, she lives in a village in Uganda called Kigazi. In Kigazi the women do the lion share of the work, water collection or growing crops are not part of a man’s role, and twice a day Stidia goes down a steep mountain to collect water and travel back up. Sometimes it takes up to 2 hours meaning she misses vital school classes.
However working with Tearfund’s church partners these women are trained in construction and plumbing and are now able to build rainwater tanks, pit latrines and promote the benefits of good hygiene.
In the village church Pastor Jackson is also building people’s self-esteem and confidence. He speaks out publicly and preaches against attacks which happen at the spring against girls of Stidia’s age. And, he reports that the church has doubled in size since Tearfund’s partner enabled the installation of water tanks. He is keenly aware that for girls like Stidia they need both material change and spiritual transformation – they need Jesus. And through his church, both are happening.
‘People want to give thanks’, says Pastor Jackson. And the clean water has reduced the number of funerals he holds. ‘Before the intervention of the project there were so many people dying as compared to the present. Some deaths were caused by sanitation related diseases, some caused by drinking dirty water. There is a tremendous improvement.’
So today as part of the global church will you use your voice and help us to mark Global Handwashing Day by putting your hands up for water, sanitation and hygiene. Help us build a huge creative petition to pass onto Andrew Mitchell MP, Secretary of State for International Development calling on him not to overlook this vital issue over the coming months. Click here to learn more.