May meeting of Ballymoney U3A

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At the Ballymoney U3A Annual General Meeting, the following were elected for the next year: chairperson Marie Hegarty; vice chair Geoffrey Robinson; treasurer John Michael; secretary Marion McDowell; membership secretaries: Jackie Cochrane and Sam Cochrane. Other committee members include Jean Philp and, a new member, Jim Sayers.

U3A was pleased to invite local man Frank Stewart to their monthly meeting to speak about the work of WaterAid. This international charity has a simple aim, to use low cost sustainable solutions to provide the basic essentials of clean drinking water, proper toilets and good hygiene to some of the poorest people in the developing countries of the world. Millions of people don’t have access to these basic services.  Can you imagine life without clean water to drink? For millions of people it’s a daily reality. Everyone everywhere needs a safe and sustainable supply of water: for drinking, washing, cleaning, cooking and growing food. It’s a basic human right.

Frank Stewart, Chair WaterAid NI said: “In many countries around the world, taps, wells and pipes simply don’t exist. Even where they do, they are often not affordable for the poorest people or are not designed to last.”

Women and girls suffer the most. They have no choice other than to walk long distances to collect dirty water, wasting their time and energy. They miss out on an education, lack the opportunity to make a living, and have little chance to change things. The community is also more likely to get sick with water-related diseases.

Right now, the some of world’s poorest people do not have access to clean water, sanitation or hygiene. This crisis is ruining lives and holding back development.  663 million people live without clean water.  2.4 billion people don’t have access to adequate sanitation, one in three of the world’s population.  Around 315,000 children under-five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation: almost 900 children per day.

A monthly donation of £2 will provide a water system toolkit in Timor-Leste; £5 a month will construct a tube well in Nepal; and £10 a month will pay for a mason to construct a family toilet in Nigeria. To provide the basic essentials of clean water, somewhere safe to go to the toilet and hygiene training costs on average £15, and gives a life and a future, for one person.  That is the challenge! It is a comparable cost of three cups of coffee and cake; will you accept the challenge?

When clean water and toilets are provided people’s lives are transformed. WaterAid works with local partners and communities to improve access to water and sanitation and promote good hygiene. The charity campaigns and engages decision-makers to bring about a world where everyone everywhere has these essentials by 2030.”