I’ve just returned from Shambala – having lost my boots, ripped my jacket and nearly strangled my 2½ year old.
"Kids and festivals – do they mix?” – answers on a postcard please.
A colleague of mine had a worse time through - getting ill on the first day. We’re not sure what it was. The curry? The slightly out of date chocolate shake? Or the lack of general hygiene around festivals?
The analogy is obvious but I’ll make it anyway…if you can get ill through poor hygiene at a music festival, having no running water near toilets or near food outlets, then how frequent must illness be where there is no clean running water at all?
The answer is: very frequent.
Today, 1,400 children across the world will die of diarrhoea. Over the year, that’s 500,000 child fatalities. It is the 2nd biggest killer of children under five worldwide.
There are many facts and stats I could use – but really the issue is that an incredible number of families across the world are unnecessarily suffering, either through illness or through the loss of a loved one.
But many cases of diarrhoea are very easily preventable. It was proved over 10 years ago that hygienic practices such as washing hands with soap can reduce the risk of diarrhoea by 50%.
That’s potentially 250,000 lives that could be saved through soap and clean water.
Simple isn’t it? So why isn’t it happening?
Well, firstly, because within poorer, marginalised communities across the world, there is a lack of understanding of hygiene practices, a lack of easily available clean water and lastly, a lack of convenient sanitation facilities.
Secondly, it is happening.
FRANK is working on all three of these areas, for example, despite being eligible for government funding, tribal communities in Chhattisgarh (central India) still lack basic services such as water and sanitation. During the summer, women and girls in particular travel several kilometres to collect water from unsafe sources such as open wells and streams.
Working in partnership with local NGO, Samerth, FRANK is working with 12,000 people across 36 communities over two years – supporting them in advocating for their rights to access to clean water and good quality sanitation.
We believe that involving governments in the development of water infrastructure is vitally important – because governments are permanent and are able to truly provide sustainable services for their citizens.
I started by saying I felt like strangling my daughter she was so frustrating this weekend. Then I remember the 1,400 daughters and sons that will not survive today.
Kids and festivals don’t mix – I know that from recent experience.
Kids, dirty water and poor hygiene don’t mix – we all should know that from the growing evidence that is presented to us.
The question is: what are we going to do about it?
You can join me, take the JoinJon challenge and become part of the solution!