Water for Life-Malta
SOS Malta has attained funding from the European Commission and the Minority Rights Group International to implement a project called ‘Water for Life – Malta’.
‘Water for Life - Malta’ has the objective of sensitizing the man in the street and teenage children about the implications of lack of water supply and sanitation – a reality which few in Malta are exposed to or can appreciate. The project shall create awareness about realities which are denied of water, and in so doing, engage its target audience in exploring ways in which water supply and sanitation can become an ‘entry point’ for the fight against poverty, especially in developing countries. The idea is in turn to draw on the global dimension of citizenship, which means being able to empathise even with people living on a different continent, and understanding that society’s actions have an impact on other people within an increasingly globalised world.
The project will do this by initially raising awareness about the waste of water by the Maltese society. Such waste will be compared with the lack of access to drinking water in developing countries, as a result of climate change, draughts, pollution and so forth. The project will therefore create awareness about the difference between the pure enjoyment of water as a commodity on the one hand and the need to access water to survive on the other. The reasons for lack of access to water and sanitation will also be presented and discussed, as well as the way in which development problems in developing countries can be alleviated by adopting a rights-based approach, including the right to water.
The project is aimed at encouraging citizens to take action, such as: a) contributing to fund-raising activities aimed at financing water-based projects in developing countries; b) advocating for Malta, as an emerging donor country, to increase its development aid targetted at, inter alia, water access and sanitation issues, while ensuring a human-rights approach to how such aid is used; c) supporting national & EU policies which ensure a rights-based approach in trade, development and Corporate Social Responsibility related issues.
The ‘Water for life - Malta’ project will be divided into three main components:
1. Awareness-raising among Children (September 2009 – March 2009)
SOS Malta will organise presentations and animation at a minimum of twenty secondary schools (adressing approx. 3500 - 4000 children). Educational and fun presentations will be carried out related to development issues and water (including waste, climate change, pollution and draught) The presentations will draw in on the right to water access and sanitation, as well as explore the correlation between development intervention, water and related fundamental rights.
To facilitate the presentations, the project will adopt a mascot as a symbol of the message it is seeking to drive across. (SOS Malta already runs a cartoon animation activity as part of its fund-raising operations, and it will therefore be able to dispose of one of its costumes for the mascot to be associated with the project.)
Other resource persons who will form part of the team facilitating the presentations, will include persons from Sub-Saharan Africa. These persons will be chosen from the population of regular/irregular migrants in Malta, in view of forming part of the core team educating the children about water, human rights and development issues. They will give first-hand accounts of what it means to lack or have no access to water, or to be living in an area which has suffered from a draught. They will relate about the hardships faced as a result and the way fundamental rights are affected. Their presence within the project’s team will in turn symbolize inclusion of these currently marginalised people in Malta.
Promotional materials will also be distributed among the students and their teachers. These materials will be designed in such a way as to carry a generic message for the fight against poverty and the promotion of the MDGs. They will in turn specifically promote the link between MDG 7 and the right to access to water, while highlighting the effects of climate change and pollution, and the need for development interventions to address these effects through a rights-based approach. Such promotional material will include rulers, shaped cardboard flyers and/or bookmarks.
A blog on ‘Facebook’ will be created for the Water for Life project, and the children who attended the presentations will be asked to add comments and answer a brief feedback questionnaire (presented in a fun and attractive manner). Children will also be asked to interview some members of their family on their views about water scarcity in developing countries, the link with development and human rights, and what they think EU countries could do in such regard.
An art competition will also be organised following the school visits. Teenage children (aged 11–14 years of age) will be invited to submit paintings or drawings which depict the theme of ‘the right to water and development.’ This competition will be organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. The winning work of art will be used as the main image for wider outreach to stakeholders and the general public. (described in the following activities)
2. Awareness-raising among stakeholders (May 2009 – June 2009)
The work of art which wins the competition will be used as the image for a 2009 calendar which will be distributed among public, corporate and NGO stakeholders in Malta. These will include relevant Ministries and public agencies, CSR companies, as well as relevant NGOs. 4000 copies of the calendars will be distributed in all, together with a covering letter explaining the initiative. Email shots will also be sent out with a brief feedback questionnaire, enquiring about related future initiatives which stakeholders possibly see themselves possibly getting involved in to promote HR and development issues, as well as promoting the project’s blog.
3. Awareness-raising among Members of the General Public (Nov 2008 – July 2009)
3.1 Articles, Op-eds and interventions on Magazine TV programmes
SOS Malta will issue articles about the ‘Water for Life- Malta’ project, and the issues which it is aimed at addressing. These articles will be published in local newspapers and magazines. It will also encourage opinion writers and columnists to take up the subject and create a debate in such regard. Furthermore, SOS Malta staff will participate in magazine TV and radio shows, promoting the project’s aims and objectives, and inviting viewers/listeners to take an interest. At least ten articles, op-eds and/or interventions on TV and radio programmes will be realised throughout the project implementation.
3.2 Production and airing of awareness-raising TV clip on the Right to Water
Together with local personality Claudette Pace, SOS Malta shall be producing a 60-sec clip about global water and development issues. It is planned that the clip will be aired repetitively on local TV stations, in view of raising awareness among the general public about these issues.
3.3 Blog on the Right to Water and Malta’s development obligations
A blog on ‘Facebook’ will be developed, as an extension of that originally developed for children. Through the articles in the press and interventions during TV and radio stations, the blog will be promoted and members of the general public will be invited to post their views on the right to water, related development issues, and Malta’s obligations in such regard.
3.4 Fund-raising campaign
Farsons is championing the sponsorhip of the Water for Life – Malta project insofar as the fund-raising component is concerned. Various financing channels are being determined whereby Farsons, through its San Michel and Eco Pure sales, will be contributing to a development fund for water initiatives in developing countries. The fund-raising campaign will be launched in Spring 2009.