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Million Hands - Water Relay

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This activity encourages young people to consider and appreciate how important water is in our daily lives and begin to reflect on how difficult our lives would be without access to safe, clean water.
Our young people will build empathy with some of the world’s poorest communities who walk many miles to collect unsafe water.


A bottle of dirty water: use coffee, stock cubes or gravy granules to create dirty water.

5 – 9 litres of water in bottles placed inside buckets or bags.

You will need 2 – 3 sets of these depending on the size of
the group.


-- Ask the young people where we get water from when we need it. (Answer: a tap)
-- Ask what they would do if they needed water but there was not a tap in their home or anywhere nearby and nowhere to buy water from.
-- Explain that they might have to collect water from the nearest water source, such as a pond, lake or stream.
-- Show the bottle of dirty water to demonstrate what this might look like.
-- Ask whether they would drink it and what the problem might be with the water in the bottle?
-- Stress that dirty water contains bacteria and germs that can make you very ill.
-- Go on to explain that millions of people across the world have no choice but to use dirty water from rivers, ponds and streams as they do not have safe, clean water available to them.
-- Explain that every day, women and children of similar ages to themselves, have to wake up early and walk for up to two hours to fetch water. This is very hard work.

Read the story or poem (in the attached resources) about walking for water.

Water Relay Activity
-- Using the buckets and bottles of water, set up a relay race, walking only, to enable the group to experience what if feels like to carry large quantities of water.
-- The weight of water that women carry in places where WaterAid works can be up to 20kg. Highlight that the water being used in the relay is a fraction of this.
-- After the relay, ask how they would feel after carrying water for up to two hours.
-- Explain that many children end up missing school and that many get sick from drinking the dirty water. In fact 1,400 children die every day from illnesses caused by the dirty water.
-- Explain that WaterAid wants to change this. WaterAid is a charity working to provide safe water and toilets to some of the world’s poorest people.
-- By the year 2030, WaterAid wants everyone, everywhere to have safe water and sanitation. WaterAid needs help to do this and is calling on the Scouts to become water warriors to make this happen.

-- Watch the Water Walk film. This shows a girl carrying water to her home in Madagascar: tinyurl.com/orf4zlk.
-- Adjust the weight of the water according to the age of the group.
-- The water relay could cover a specific distance and be held outside if appropriate.
-- Encourage the Cubs and Scouts to write their own poems about how it feels to carry water.
-- These can be performed at an event for parents and carers to highlight global water issues (see Tell the World activity, Poetry Performance).


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