Young Pupils Demand Clean Drinking Water for All Worldwide

Berlin, March 2019: Young pupils in Berlin demand clean drinking water for all worldwide

According to UNESCO (World Water Report, 2019), 2.1 billion people worldwide have no access to safe drinking water. Berlin school children demonstrated against the global water crisis on the occasion of World Water Day 2019.

Lugging water-filled jerry-cans and presenting self-made hand washing facilities, the pupils demanded “Water for everyone”. Their message was loud and clear: Everyone has a right to access clean and safe drinking water. Poor and marginalised population groups in particular should not be left out. They are the ones suffering most from the global water crisis: people with disabilities, the elderly, indigenous people, but also girls and women, who in many societies are responsible for providing their families with water and travel great distances every day to do so.

At the end of their protest march, the pupils handed over an oversized postcard with their messages to Thilo Panzerbieter, Executive Director of the German Toilet Organization. He presented the students’ demands at a “water stakeholder meeting” in the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) later the same day.

The draft federal budget for 2020 is a disappointment when it comes to investments in development cooperation. These budgetary set-backs will make it impossible to meet international commitments and will inhibit the contributions to the implementation of human rights. On their way to Potsdamer Platz, the pupils therefore stopped in front of the Federal Ministry of Finance to demonstrate for more investment into development cooperation. In times of increasing conflict – also over the increasingly scarce resource of water – BMZ is still regarded as one of the largest donors in the field of water. Precisely these funds are therefore essential for reaching marginalised groups in the fight against poverty and to eliminate major inequalities in the access to water.

The importance of safe drinking water is illustrated by the following figures: over 50 countries are affected by water stress. Causes include climate change, population growth and the drop in groundwater levels caused by prolonged droughts. The United Nations (UN) estimate that water consumption has increased 6-fold in recent years and that available water resources will become increasingly scarce in the future. This has dramatic consequences: People suffer from hunger, agricultural production becomes increasingly difficult and the fight for water leads to armed conflicts. The World Economic Forum considers the global water crisis to be one of the five greatest risk factors for mankind.

one of the signs that provides information on the use of virtual water

The march was initiated by pupils from the Grüner Campus Malchow, the Gemeinschaftsschule on Campus Rütli and the Käthe-Kollwitz-Gymnasium together with GTO. The project is financially supported by the BMZ, by the state office for developmental cooperation of Berlin and by Brot für die Welt. We also thank CWS-boco, who is a long-term supporter of GTO projects.

The event is part of GTO’s development education project “Toiletised World” – initiated in 2009. Within the project, GTO organises one-day workshops at schools and jointly plans events to raise public awareness for development-policy issues with the school children.


water supply & sanitation map in Africa

During a recent trip to the GTZ office of the “sustainable sanitation – ecosan” program in Eschborn, Germany, I stumbled upon the following interesting map that display various international NGOs working on water supply & sanitation issues in Africa.


download this map as a PDF (0.1 MB)

Steffen Blume of GTZ-ecosan, who created this map for his colleagues at work & agreed to share this with us, kindly asks for some feedback in return. So if you’re active or know of an active NGO within the water / sanitation sector that isn’t listed here, please directly send your feedback to Steffen Blume or kindly use the comment form below. Thank you!

World Water Day 2010

logoGoing by Social Media standards, World Water Day 2010 has been a full success. “World Water Day” is a trending topic on Twitter, thousands of people gathered online and offline to join the world’s largest toilet queue and various other NGOs as well as GOs are using Facebook & their blogs to highlight the importance of such an international day.

Social media, online stuff – where’s the real action you ask?

Well, here it is:

The World’s Longest Toilet Queue Flickr Stream.

Enjoy! 🙂

Did you know…

Did you know that globally some 2.6 billion people are without access to any kind of improved sanitation?

Did you know that more than 2.2 million people, mostly in developing countries, die each year from diseases associated with poor water and sanitation conditions?

Did you know that the most affected group is the one of children under the age of 5?

Did you know that sanitation rarely receives the required attention and priority by politicians and civil society alike despite its key importance on many other sectors and for achieving most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)?

People often do not want to talk about sanitation, and when asked about their wishes, you’ll often hear answers like “a new tv set, a vcr, a car..” etc. instead. So how come sanitation – as a basic human need – has become such a neglected request?

And please beware: just because the above mentioned facts mainly cover developing countries, it doesn’t imply that industrialized nations are having much better sanitation systems! Just think of the public toilet system in your town and ask yourself: would you want to use these toilets (if any) for your next nature’s call?


With this small blog on the internet, we’ll try to display various approaches to an improved sanitation, cover some good and bad technologies and hopefully help to put sanitation on your agenda.

Because change will only happen if people really want it.