Today the news reports another British serviceman has died in Afghanistan. Killed in what is referred to as a ‘Green on Blue’ attack (An attack perpetrated by the Afgan National Army) he was the 439th British serviceman to die in the conflict. At point of writing we have not learnt the name of this brave young man.
What the news doesn’t speculate on is the 440th death of which we are sure there will be. We do not know the name of this man or woman but we know it will happen. We know that 4000 children will die today from lack sanitation or access to clean water. We know it will happen tomorrow and again the day after. Our work doesn’t take place in areas of great conflict on the scale of Afghanistan, but countries such as Guinea Bissau are often affected by coups and the ongoing affects and unrest this creates.
The World Bank has written a report referred to as “Breaking the Conflict Trap”. In this report it states that poverty and desperation are inextricably linked to conflict and war. As people are desperate they begin to resent those that are different either ethnically or religiously and as children have no future they are easy pickings for those that would exploit them. Yes we can feel for those without food but there is an even darker aspect to poverty than the death of those who suffer it, what do people turn to when there is no hope for their future?
History is littered with examples of people who have lost hope.
After the First World Ward Germany was impoverished to total ruin by the Treaty Of Versailles and plunged into depression. From these ashes grew the National Socialist Party or Nazis who were democratically elected in 1933.
This is why our work is so important. Through the provision of water and sanitation people are able to gain the hope and confidence to invest in their own futures and take control of their own lives. Conflict that often arises due to the lack of access to water is eradicated. People are able to make choices for themselves and not become despondent at the lack of opportunities to gain an education or employment. Men are not deprived of his livelihood when he has done nothing wrong. We all have different paths to play and we all must be allowed to play them. Water, sanitation is a building block to the future. It results in communities taking control of their own lives and ensures people do not exploit them because of their poverty and the desperate situations they find themselves in. We all have our part to play by giving them a chance to work toward a more productive future?