• Written by Mark Charmer
    25 March 2010

It was my great honour yesterday to walk with Dutch schoolchildren, who were raising awareness of global water issues and raising hard cash to fund water and sanitation projects through Akvo.

I was with Luuk in Eindhoven, home of Philips (and the compact disc!). Peter and Kathelyne were at Katwijk, on the Dutch coast. Mark Westra was in the Eastern city of Arnhem.

We’ve described the format of Walking for Water already, and the organisations behind it (it’s led by Aqua for All). It’s a concept that Live Earth is now helping us extend globally.

You can see the projects that the kids were funding here on the Walking for Water Project page, in Akvo.

The video below gives a sense of what the Katwijk walk was like.

Spending time with kids always fascinates me – they’re clear cut, unladen with the sentimentality that adults have towards poverty and development. They’re not interested in symbolism and really can’t be fed propaganda like adult campaigners can – they’ll do it their way. Luuk and I had huge fun walking with the 35-strong Eindhoven Internationale School, led by the wonderful Fiona Knol. One of nine schools on the Eindhoven walk, her kids were great – they’d raised more than €1,500. This was to be tripled by corporate and institutional funders. Overall, the Eindhoven event alone raised more than €25,000.

Here Luuk and I talk with the kids to find our how they raised money (click on the image below or this link to see the video).


I also had the chance to meet Agnes Ovington, who was organising her 8th Walking for Water event. Eindhoven is where Walking for Water started out, and here I talk to Agnes about why the concept is so powerful (again click on the picture below).


You can see my Flickr photoset from the Eindhoven walk by clicking on the collage below. There’s also a great photoset by Mark Westra of Arnhem here, images by Peter from Katwijk here, and Kathelyne’s pictures from the same event here..


We’ll do a wrap-up blog to set out what was raised where, next week, along with further interviews with people involved, to help organisers elsewhere in the world harness this really powerful, really fun way to educate kids and raise money for water and sanitation projects.

Update: On Thursday night, it was announced that the Dutch walks were on track to raise €1.2 million ($1.6 million) in total.

Mark Charmer is co-founder of Akvo.

Updated 29 March 2010: Added link to Kathelyne van den Berg’s photos.