Thames Water sets £100,000 charity challenge to web users

In a challenge launched by the popstar Suggs, lead singer of Madness, Thames Water, in collaboration with the charity WaterAid, has pledged £100,000 for water, sanitation, and hygiene promotion in developing countries on the condition that the charity’s website receives 250,000 clicks in the next three months.

According to WaterAid, a quarter of the world’s population is without safe drinking water (see related story) with the result that every eight seconds, a child in a developing country dies from a waterborne disease. The new campaign to raise money and increase the profile of WaterAid’s website is Thames Water’s flagship project for this year.

“As the world’s third largest water and wastewater services company we realise the importance of providing safe drinking water, which for many developing countries is still a luxury,” said Sandy Henney, Corporate Affairs Director for Thames Water.

“The decision to create was prompted by the real need to find a non-traditional means to communicate the safe water message in a simple, effective and un-intrusive manner,” said Henney. “In this case, the internet provides the perfect medium for conveying this message to an active, growing audience, safeguarding the important work carried out by WaterAid.”

The money raised will go towards a range of projects, a WaterAid spokesperson told edie. Since 1981, WaterAid has worked with partner organisations in over 15 underdeveloped countries within Africa and Asia, assisting the poorest of the poor. The charity’s aim is to help communities to help themselves, involving them in the construction of projects in order that they can maintain the facilities themselves in the future. WaterAid’s work also includes hygiene education, which is often then passed on by the community to other people in the area. To date, the charity believes that its work has directly benefited six million people, with many others assisted indirectly.

“We are delighted that Thames Water has agreed to sponsor WaterAid, through the development of,” said Andrew Cook, Head of Marketing at WaterAid. “With their assistance we can ensure that Thames Water’s generous pledge of £100,000 makes the dream of safe water a reality for thousands worldwide.” Cook suggests that supporters of Thames Water’s campaign can also make a donation to WaterAid once they have ‘clicked’ onto the website. According to the charity, just over £10 will provide a lasting supply of safe drinking water to someone in the developing world.

In 1999/2000 staff and customers of Thames Water managed to raise £1,780,000 for WaterAid’s work in developing countries, helping 166,500 people gain access to safe drinking water, with £9.5 million raised since the company’s privatisation in 1989.

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