In exactly one week, on March 22nd, the planet marks World Water Day, drawing attention to the importance of water and promoting sustainable management of freshwater resources across the globe. Africa remains one continent severely impacted by climate change. From Kenya to South Africa water scarcity continues to be a leading crisis, impacting the most vulnerable in region.
World Water Day, introduced in 1992 by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) to raise awareness, mobilize on water issues and initiate conversations at community and local levels on actions to be taken to improve the course of events.
At 350Africa, this day comes at a critical moment, where research indicated that 319 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to safe drinking water. Reasons include fossil fuel induced climate change and its multiple impacts on valuable water resources. For us, this day presents an opportunity to highlight the impacts that fossil fuel industries such as coal mining and climate change have on scarce water resources. To spotlight ongoing water crisis in certain countries with testimonies and supporting images, intensify the need to collectively protect water sources from all types of pollution and present the best community solutions for water use and storage in the region.
Here is an overview of the plans in the subregion:
Kenya : two events will take place there:
- In Lamu, community leaders and activists of the Save Lamu campaign continue to escalate their fight against the proposed coal plant on the UNESCO heritage site, despite the recent approval by Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). The objective is to educate and inform the community on the catastrophic impacts this plant will have on human health, water resources, air quality, tourism and general livelihood on the fishing community.
- In Nairobi, concerned activists will gather in Githurai to deliberate on urgent measures and steps needed to restore River Gatharaini’s resources that faces loss of natural habitat and environmental degradation through destructive anthropogenic activities as a result of industrialization, urbanization, population increase leading to encroachment of the riparian zones.
Ghana: An engagement forum organised by 350G-ROC in a community where galamsey (illegal mining) is heavily practiced will take place to educate and create awareness on the adverse effect of these activity on their own lives, family and community as a whole. It will also serve as an opportunity to call for change agents in the community who will drive the process to bringing about the needed change.
Nigeria: 350 Nigeria and partners will organise a field visit to a village in Tafawa Balewa LGA of Bauchi state. The aim is to stimulate genuine community awareness and participation that addresses water wastages to create sustainable demand for and protection of water source for improved well-being in rural areas in Bauchi State.
Interviews with the local community will be conducted to assess and record the daily reality in accessing clean water for domestic use. These interviews will be aired in a village during a public gathering where the community will be finding solutions to issues raised during the interviews.