“Is carbonated water allowed?” – asked a friend last night. She was questioning the rules for ‘JoinJon’
No is the answer. And no to a slice of lime. And no to a drop of cordial. In fact, it’s a no to everything but pure H2O.
But you can add hot water to cold and add ice cubes to brighten things up. On the whole, based on those suggestions, I’m going to accept the plainness of pure water and put caffeine and alcohol to one side for a week - and feel lucky that I have the luxury to do it. When I'm asking people to sponsor me on JustGiving to take this challenge, it's helpful to remember the important facts.
In India, over 90 million people don’t have access to safe water. That’s 50% more people than the entire population of the UK.
In some ways, India is like two separate countries.
In September this year, an Indian spacecraft will orbit Mars. But, according to the United Nations Development Programme, an estimated 29.8% of Indians lived below poverty line in 2009-2010.
That’s 30% of the population (350 million people) living on 75p a day.
FRANK Water is concentrating on the poorest and most marginalised of this 30%. People with a need for basic services - the most basic of which is water.
Firstly, why are they marginalised? Well, there are a number of different reasons. Here’s two examples:
We work with slum dwellers in Agra, who are marginalised because they literally live on the margins of where the government is able to provide access to water. Marginalised people here buy water from tankers that are run by local entrepreneurs/mafia and have no access to clean water from any other source.
We also work with tribal Baiga communities who live deep in the forest in the centre of India. Despite being eligible for government funding, tribal communities still lack basic services such as water and sanitation and are on the margins of society through their culture, beliefs and way of life.
There are many other examples I could share with you (and check out our website for details of all of our work in India) but the story is the same in one regard – we seek out the most marginalised peoples in India and work with them to access their rights to water.
Next time I’ll tell you a little about how we go beyond water to work on critical issues like sanitation and hygiene but for now maybe just remember:
“It’s no to a slice of lime!” and feel lucky that that’s your only concern.
Like Join Jon on Facebook
Follow #JoinJon on Twitter