How would you promote IWSH projects?

By Raymond Rowell Reyes

“Water is the driving force of all nature.” Commonly attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, this quote tells us about the importance of water in our lives.

All living organisms on Earth depend on water for growth and survival, and almost all biological processes within the body are made possible through the astounding properties of water. Indeed, clean water and sanitation are vital to a person’s well-being; the quality of access to clean water remains a useful metric for determining the quality of life in a country.

As I live in a developing country, there is still a need in our nation to improve the water and sanitation systems within it. Access to water and its quality strongly depends on where you live — highly urbanised cities often have reliable running tap water, and the toilets are usually kept clean and sanitised by government systems or private institutions.

However, once you reach the provinces and other rural areas, clean, filtered water becomes more scarce, with most locals procuring water from a centralised tap, or from natural bodies of water such as lakes and rivers. Throughout the whole country, citizens are usually discouraged from drinking from the tap, as the plumbing and sanitation systems here are taken with a grain of salt.

Fortunately, a number of organisations work to address these water-related issues. The International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation (IWSH) represents an impactful community for promoting proper water and sanitation practices within the industry. Its advocacies are aligned with a UN Millennium Goal of ensuring environmental sustainability. I was particularly inspired by their plumbing initiatives in impoverished communities such as those in India and Nepal; projects that helped secure safe access to water to the people within these communities.

This led me to think about what actions I could do to further support the cause that is spearheaded by this foundation. If I were given the opportunity to promote this organisation, I would do it in two parts — first by creating a social media campaign about the foundation and the issues regarding water and sanitation, and secondly, by starting a fundraiser that would hopefully spread awareness about the foundation. For both of these, the slogan that I would use is “WATer you waiting for? Join the cause.” This slogan would hopefully pique the interest of individuals and encourage them to participate in these activities.

For my social media campaign, I would primarily target the youth, such as those belonging in the age bracket of 8 to 18, as it is important that these individuals, who are in their formative ages, should be aware of the problems that are present in the water and sanitation industry. Thus, in the future, they might be able to create and innovate better solutions to these problems than the ones that we have at present. My audience would also encompass individuals of all genders, races, and financial capabilities, as water is something that we all share, something that is truly universal to our survival as a species.

I would primarily utilise the most widely used social media platforms, which are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. On Facebook and Twitter, my goal would be to create posts or tweets daily that would illustrate the sides of the issues in the industry, possible solutions to these problems, and inspirational quotes from people who have pioneered water and sanitation technology. Trivia questions and other fun content would also be included to draw the attention of the youth.

Infographics illustrating various water systems, interesting histories on sanitation practices, and statistics on global usage and access to water would also be created and displayed on these social media platforms. Links to IWSH and other pertinent organisation websites would be added on these pages so that individuals may further read on these topics. On Instagram, I am envisioning a photo gallery of possible actions that the youth can take to save water and promote sanitation in their own homes. For example, I can upload graphics or real photos that show simple ways of conserving water, such as making sure that closed taps don’t leak, or to take short showers instead of filling up the bathtub for bath time. I would ensure that the quality of these graphics or photos would be exceptional, so that others may be inspired to do their part, as well.

Secondly, for my fundraiser, I am envisioning an Amazing Race style of an event, wherein families or different teams can participate to get different prizes and goodies. Before the event, there would be a short seminar series, where different speakers in my local community can talk about water and sanitation topics, as well as foundations like IWSH. In this ‘Amazing Race’, there would be different stations that would all fall under the theme of the proper use of water, sanitation, and hygiene. For example, a possible station could be a puzzle-type game that involves connecting different sanitised pipelines while avoiding contaminated and badly maintained ones. Another possible station could be water pong, but in addition to the goal of trying to get a ping pong ball into the cup, the teams must also minimise the amount of water that splashes over their cup, or prevent any of their cups from spilling over. In the end, the families or teams that have garnered the highest number of points would win a banner, and a congratulatory message on the aforementioned social media accounts.

Through these two strategies — having a social media drive, and starting a fundraising event — I can hopefully spread and promote the advocacies for which IWSH and other organisations are continuously endeavouring: clean water, sanitation, and hygiene for all. I also hope that through these activities, I would further learn the skills that are needed to further an agenda and to reach out to other individuals from different backgrounds. As water is universal, connecting us all as human beings, I also hope to be a leader in the future who will bring people together and improve the lives of those who need it the most.

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