In the press
Volunteers help remind India that ‘Water is Life’
New Delhi, India: Jal hi jeevan hai – 'Water is Life' – especially in India where every year countless people die of waterborne diseases. UNV is joining with private sector partners to raise understanding of the problem through volunteerism.
UNV has signed an agreement to take part in a social awareness initiative on clean water launched by media company Zee News. The intent is to create a healthier India by educating people about the importance of clean water. The campaign also seeks to emphasize people’s role in water conservation.
In coordination with UNDP, UNV is assisting Zee News by providing water-related expertise and sharing UN documents and research on water. It will also provide information on volunteerism, and people are being informed about how to contribute to the awareness-raising campaign through volunteerism.
Launched in July 2009, the campaign was originally planned to last about 90 days but is now being extended. It will be executed in three phases.
“The first phase,” explains UNV India Programme Office Anoj Chhetri, “seeks to inform people about the importance and benefits of pure water.” It will show them ways to save water in their day-to-day lives, he says, and methods to contribute to the restoration of natural water resources.
Information will be spread through promotional Hindi-language television slots such as special stories on Zee News Ltd. channels. Though the electricity supply to rural areas is variable, nearly half of Indian households now have access to television.
The second phase of the campaign will strive to build awareness about waterborne diseases and ways to get clean water. Doctor’s suggestions, discussion shows and some special television programmes will be used.
Lastly, says Mr. Chhetri, there will be various ground activities, which may give opportunity for volunteer action. “People will be informed about the importance and value of water, given suggestions for getting clean water and watch discussion and debate shows,” he says. This final phase is still in the proposal stage and will shape up as the water campaign takes its course.
In addition, a water quiz on the Zee News website helps children learn about water. This helps build awareness among younger citizens through an interesting and interactive method.
The water campaign is sponsored by Kent RO Systems Ltd. Another partner is the Times Foundation, which worked with UNV India on the highly successful ‘Teach India’ campaign.
Others include Governmental youth organization Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, NGOs Tarun Bharat Sangh and Jal Chetna Manch, Mantra 91.9 FM Radio, Fun Cinemas, and Competition Success Review magazine. The online partner for the campaign is Indiantelevision.com.
According to the World Health Organization, diarrhoeal diseases kill half a million Indians every year, and are responsible for 20 percent of infant mortalities.
For more, see www.zeenews.com/water/
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