VIDEO: WaterAid supporters celebrate 30 years of clean water

WaterAid has marked 30 years of bringing clean water, sanitation and hygiene education to the world's poorest countries at its Annual Supporters' Meeting in London.

Speaking at the event last week (October 14) to celebrate the water charity’s 30th anniversary, WaterAid chief executive Barbara Frost said the charity had “an awful lot to celebrate”, but added that “there is an awful lot still to do because of the scale of the problem out there”.

However, Ms Frost added that it was “remarkable” that despite the economic downturn WaterAid has continued to increase its donations by raising £50.8m in 2010-2011 – up from £43.8m in 2008-2009.

WaterAid was founded on July 21 1981 by former director David Collett and a group of individuals from the UK water industry.

In its first year it raised £25,000 to help people improve their lives and livelihoods through access to clean water.

Since then it has provided almost 16 million people with safe water and since 2004, more than 11 million with sanitation with works in 26 countries in Africa, Asia, the Pacific and South America.

Last year it launched as a global organisation by setting up WaterAid International and now has offices in Australia and Sweden, with the WaterAid Sweden chair Jan Eliasson “playing a really important role in getting the UN involved”, said Ms Frost.

Influencing key decision-makers remains a core focus of WaterAid’s work, she explained.

To mark the occasion, WaterAid launched a new film and interactive timeline to illustrate its growth and development over past 30 years.

WaterAid has attributed its growth to support from well-known figures and organizations such as the Prince of Wales, Glastonbury Festival, Ofwat and several of the UK’s water companies.

And, edie publisher Faversham House Group has provided donations through charity events, with its sister publications WET News and Water and Wastewater Treatment (WWT) holding a charity auction for WaterAid at its Water Industry Achievement Awards (WIAA) on March 29 2012.

Carys Matthews

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