Thursday, 5 May 2011

A Result : Part2 - End Water Poverty


A Result : Part1 - Daily Mail
A Result : Part2 - End Water Poverty

Having sent what can perhaps best be described as constuctive criticism regarding the fact that the government does not speak out against the hateful and divisive reporting shown by papers such as the Daily Mail, BFTF was feeling a little guity and wondered whether the MP had been doing anything praiseworthy recently that would warrant some kind of encouragement or compliment . A brief look at the MPs website revealed that they had indeed been doing something interesting. An article described how they had joinded other MP's in "walked for water" as part of a global campaing to raise awareness for the world water and sanitation crisis on UN World Water Day - an event organised by End Water Poverty who are calling for governments to work towards ending the water and sanitation crisis in the developing world.

The website of End Water Poverty (http://www.endwaterpoverty.org/) showed that this was an organisation who had the support of charities around the world and aimed to be a focus point for achieving change.

Reading on further, it was shocking to learn was that some 2.6 billion people live without a safe toilet and that this results in devastating effects on:
health (over 50% of sub saharan hospital beds are taken up to people suffering from sanitaiton related diseases);

children (some 400 die from preventable water related diseases every day, more than the number who die from AIDS, malaria and measles combined) and

economies (in Africa 5% of GDP is lost to sanitation related illnesses)

Even more disturbing was an article in the Guardian by Maggie Black(http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/aug/20/water.waste) that pointed out how sanitation (sewers, clean toilets etc) needs to be funded by the government. After all, it was government funding that was required to end the "Great Stink" in 1850's London.

Yet, according to Black, the situation in many developing countries is that "Privatisation of municipal utilities - at the bidding of the World Bank and others - has compounded the problem, since any profits to be made are all in water supply, which people need to survive. But sanitation is a public good and, as the Victorians discovered, needs to be subsidised from the public purse"

Critically, water and sanitation programmes in the developing world "conveniently forget the "S" word too. They spend the lion's share of their resources on water: 95% in Madagascar, for example, leaving just 3p per head a year to spend on sanitation".

This was all eye-opening stuff and it seemed only fair to tell the MP concerned that I was gratefull for their activity on this front and that they had certainly raised awareness of the issue for me.

An email also followed to local mosques, suggesting that supporting the MP was an opportunity to do something positive in the political field, rather than just focussing on narrow issues of self-interest.

And another email followed to a local Islamic charity suggesting that this might be a good cause for them to back, and to wonder what the effect would be if they could get a large number of local Muslims writing to the Government asking for action on this issue. Imagine what that would do for the perception of the Muslim community by the wider society. Imagine what that would do for the self-image of the Muslim community. And, of course, image what it could do for the millions in the developing world who have to spend so much time finding water and have no access to a toilet.

Alhumdulillah, dear reader, you may note how such positive actions have come out of an initial wish to right a wrong in the Daily Mail !

Perhaps BFTF can close out this post by mentioning that, whilst it cannot write poetry, or indeed easily read poetry, BFTF does have a soft spot for a good lymeric. A particular favourite goes like this :

There was a young lady named Kite
Whose speed was much faster than light.
She left home one day
In a relative way
And returned on the previous night.

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