WaterAid wants the world to focus attention on the shortage of drinking water in Africa. [WaterAid is an international charity dedicated to helping people escape the stranglehold of poverty and disease caused by living without safe water and sanitation. WaterAid works in partnership with local organisations in 15 countries in Africa and Asia to help poor communities establish sustainable water supplies and latrines, close to home. WaterAid also works to influence governments' water and sanitation policies to serve the interests of vulnerable people ]

Below are two reports, one by WaterAid and the other by the VOA

The aid will start flowing but will the water?

08 July 2005
The G8 has pledged to deliver a further $25 billion aid per year for Africa by 2010 but WaterAid says there has been no news whether this deal will stop the silent emergency caused by dirty water and poor sanitation, which resulted in the death of over 17,000 children during the summit.

"As Tony Blair said, 'the work now has to be done'. Pledges are nothing new and may soon seem to be forgotten. When will talk be transformed into taps and toilets for the world's poorest people?

"Water and sanitation was last discussed by the G8 in 2003 since when there has been minimal improvement on the ground. WaterAid is now waiting to hear how much of this extra money will go towards halting the worsening situation of sanitation coverage in Africa.

"It was reported today that President Bush was struck by the fact that lack of toilets keeps girls out of school. The brutal inadequacy of the water sector is undermining development on many levels denying billions of people their health and livelihoods and in some cases even life."

The urgency of providing access to water and sanitation for the world's poor is widely acknowledged. At the G8 summit in 2003 leaders committed to give high priority in aid to water and sanitation. Yet in 2005 the Commission for Africa still had to call for an immediate reversal in the decline in aid for water and sanitation.

WaterAid now calls on all governments to redouble efforts with the G8 and with other EU member states to:

* Immediately reverse the decline in aid funding to water and sanitation, by doubling funds and agreeing actual programmes of work.
* Target money to the poorest, by spending 70% of water supply and sanitation aid on the countries with the greatest needs (most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, plus some in South and South-East Asia).
* Ensure money is well spent by improving co-ordination between donors and with national governments; ensuring that people and communities are involved in planning and implementing service delivery; choosing affordable, sustainable and appropriate technologies.
* Report on, follow up and critique the progress made on the 2003 G8 Water Action Plan. This should be done by 2007 at the latest.

Water for a Thirsty World
By Faiza Elmasry, VOA
17 August 2005

The big bio-diesel bus that carries Ethos water bottles
Peter Thum and Jonathan Greenblatt are driving across the country in a big blue bio-diesel bus to sell bottles of cold water. But they're not just trying to raise money for their company, Ethos Water. In every city they visit, they get out of their bus, walk around the downtown area, and talk to anyone who'll listen about what people in other parts of the world go through to get a drink of water.

"The world water crisis is one of the world's largest problems," says Peter Thum. "It affects a billion people around the world. That's four times the population of the United States."
Peter Thum became aware of this problem a few years ago, when he was working in South Africa as a management consultant. When he returned home, he decided to do something about it. as possible to create a company, Ethos Water, that could help connect people in the developed world with solving the problems in the developing world," says Mr. Thum. "So, I reached out to my business school classmate and my friend Jonathan Greenblatt and we started this company."

Mr. Greenblatt says by producing and selling bottled water here in the United States, their company is generating money to help children around the world get clean drinking water. "We were running the company from my son's bedroom in my house in Los Angeles," he says. "We were building it one store at a time, delivering water out of the back of a beat-up borrowed Volvo station wagon and created our little company, which was mainly bankrolled by the two of us for a long time. We funded it with our credit cards and our saving accounts."

Three years later, Ethos Water is on more solid financial footing. It has partnered with non-governmental organizations and funded water projects in developing countries from Africa to South Asia to Central America.

"Last year, Jonathan and I flew to Honduras and went to the village of Cholusnate where we funded a water project for a village of about 125 families," he says. "The people in that village had never had clean water access. This water project enabled them to have the materials to obtain water from about 5.5 kilometers away from their village. The water then goes into a tank where it's stored and filtered again. Then, the water goes down to a sink at every home so every single family has the ability to get clean water to drink, to bath their children, and to prepare food with."

"[Ethos Water] is a good example of a partnership we'd like to expand and work in a number of countries," says Vanessa Tobin, who is in charge of UNICEF's Water, Environment and Sanitation programs. Ms. Tobin says the lack of clean water impacts peoples' lives in many ways. "In many countries," she explains, "people don't have access to such basic needs as safe water even to wash their hands to prevent diseases, to cook, drink. In rural areas, women and girls can be walking three or four hours to collect water, which stops young girls from going to school, stops women from being able to do other tasks. We also estimate about nearly 5,000 children under the age of 5 die every day as a result of diarrheal diseases due to poor sanitation and lack of safe water."

Since 2002, Ethos has donated about $100,000 of its sales to international water projects. Ethos was sold earlier this year to Starbucks Coffee Company, but its mission continues under the sponsorship of the new owner. Supporting the world water cause will ultimately bring more profits to Starbucks.

David Hessekiel
David Hessekiel is president of the Cause Marketing Forum, which connects companies with charities. He says this phenomenon is called 'cause-related marketing,' and it has been around for over 20 years. The concept became widely known in 1983, when American Express, the credit card company, created a major campaign to support the renovation of the statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island landmark in New York. At that time, they linked usage of their card to contributions to those projects, and raised close to $2 million, while also seeing tremendous increases in their business.

Over the years, he says, this approach of "doing well by doing good" has become a successful - and popular - marketing strategy.

" We're living at a very exciting time in cause marketing," he says. "What was once the domain of the few very idealistic companies perhaps, is now being recognized by the largest companies in the world as an important aspect of how you do business. Not only do you need to satisfy shareholders, but you need to satisfy customers, to keep your employees feeling that they work in a good environment. Cause marketing efforts and corporate social initiatives are a wonderful way in which businesses benefit, causes benefit, and society benefits."
That's exactly what the Ethos Water founders hope to achieve through their 10-week Walk for Water. They began their campaign August 3 on the East Coast, in New York City, and will end it September 29 in Seattle, on the West Coast. They say the people they've met so far feel good about buying a bottle of water, knowing their purchase will help others around the world enjoy drinking clean water, as well.