25,000 children joined this year’s Walking for Water, timed to coincide with World Water Day 2011 in March. At school the kids learned that many people can’t access safe water easily. They were then tasked with funding their own water project on Akvo.org, raising money from friends and family. This culminated in hundreds of 6 km walks, where the kids carried 6 litres of water in a backpack – the typical quantity and distance many must travel to fetch and carry water.

This year’s campaign raised around €1 million, compared to €1.2 million last year. The great news is that the children raised more in 2011 than any previous year, and the lower total only reflects reduced “match” funding from the Dutch government. Many local companies also stepped in to fill the gap. Given this performance, I’m confident that next year’s Walking for Water will raise more money than ever before.

In the Netherlands Walking for Water was held for the 9th time and they reached a record number of children – 24,000 from 463 schools. Together they raised in total €628,000. Some of the money raised by the children is doubled by organisations and companies. You can follow who has funded what online on the Walking for Water page on akvo.org.

For the first time, schools beyond the Netherlands got involved, with about 1,000 kids in other countries to fund these projects, putting on their blue backpacks and Walking for Water. Akvo is helping extend the event globally, and we think this is a great start.

Highlights from around the world

The Aguis de Soldanis Girls School on the island of Gozo, Malta raised money by organising a Bake sale and collecting money on the streets while walking with 6 litres of water.

Girls from the Aquis Soldanis Girls School, Gozo ready to Walk for Water, by Joanie Xiberas

In Kent, England over 300 children participated in the Walking for Water event organised by the Rotary Club of Chestfield. The Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Councillor Pat Todd, launched the event and give a speech to all the school children participants. Together with Rotary Club Apeldoorn from the Netherlands they raised funds for this water project in Tanzania. Aqua for All doubled the money they raised.

Chris Amsinger visited the event in Kent: “Watching the Rotary Club of Chestfield in action was amazing, everything flowed so smoothly from beginning to end, and even the sun shone on the kids of Canterbury. From the warm up exercises beforehand to the fruit and drink packs supplied by the local McDonalds it was a simply great event to witness, and I loved being there

I visited the Ecoschool Wardie Primary in Edinburgh. Julia Atchison organised their event and decided to get the whole school involved, which turned out to be a great success. They walked around the school playground to involve all the children from the school. The older children did the hard work 6km with three 2 litre bottles of water and the little ones walked 2 rounds with half a litre water. By organising their water week in this manner, the whole school became aware of the importance of clean drinking water.

Wardie Primary School, Edinburgh, by Kathelyne van den Berg

Maureen Celland from Our Lady & St. Josephs primary school, Scotland said: “We all enjoyed our day ‘Walking for Water’. The children now realise the difficulties and hardship children of their own age face every day having to walk long distances to collect water for their basic needs. After the walk the children recycled all the plastic bottles.

Here’s my short video of the walk.

Luuk Diphoorn joined the walk in South Africa in Cape Town, you can read his experiences here.

Pictures

See how the different Walking for Water events looked by checking out www.walkingforwater.eu, where we’re featuring images from various walking for water events.