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Call for Kiwis to appreciate value of clean water

UNICEF and Prime Minister calls for Kiwis to appreciate the value of clean water on World Water Day

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Jonathan Shadid
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Media Release
Embargoed for March 22, 2008

UNICEF and Prime Minister calls for Kiwis to appreciate the value of clean water on World Water Day

Saturday March 22 marks World Water Day and UNICEF is asking New Zealanders to recognise how fortunate they are to have access to clean water.

In developing countries, one in five children do not have access to safe drinking water.

Prime Minister Helen Clark said that she supports the work UNICEF does around the world helping provide safe water and basic sanitation for children and their families in developing countries.

“World Water Day is an opportunity for New Zealanders to acknowledge how fortunate we are to have clean water.

“UNICEF’s activity in these developing countries is to be commended. Dirty water and poor sanitation are the second biggest killer of children globally, killing around 2 million children a year,” Helen Clark said.

Millions of women and girls in developing countries spend many hours a day walking up to 10km to collect water for their families to drink, cook and wash. This water is frequently contaminated and just continues the cycle of family illness. The time spent fetching water also means that women cannot perform income generating activities and girl children are unable to attend school.

Dennis McKinlay, Executive Director of UNICEF NZ, says “More than 1 billion people worldwide do not currently have access to safe water. World Water Day is a reminder of the need to re-double our efforts to help save children’s lives through the simple intervention of clean water and sanitation.”

As an extension of World Water Day, UNICEF New Zealand is launching the Tap Project, an international water awareness campaign which will become an annual event.

UNICEF NZ will be asking diners to donate a minimum of $1 for the tap water they normally enjoy for free at participating restaurants across the country.

The campaign will run for one week from 5 – 11 April, with all proceeds going to save the lives of children and families who currently have limited access to clean drinking water.
Tap Project donations from Kiwis will go a long way to helping UNICEF and our water projects around the world,” adds McKinlay.

UNICEF NZ Ambassadors, TV personalities Alison Mau and Mike McRoberts will be fronting this year’s Tap Project, along with many other well-known Kiwis.

For more information visit www.tapproject.org.nz


Notes to editors:

World Water Day 22nd March: In December of 1992, the United Nations General
Assembly declared March 22nd of each year World Water Day. Countries were invited to devote the day to concrete activities such as the promotion of public awareness, conferences, round tables, seminars and expositions related to the conservation and development of water resources.

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