Holding a Successful Walk for Water
Walk for Water: The basics
An H2O for Life Walk for Water is a fundraising and awareness-raising concept where students, family members and community members walk 5 kilometers, carrying 6 liters of water in a backpack. That’s slightly more than 3 miles, and is the average distance that women and girls in developing countries must walk every day, typically carrying 20 liters of water. All funds raised will support the school you have chosen. H2O for Life is encouraging students and families of ALL ages to participate in the Walk.
Funds are raised by students themselves, mainly as donations from friends and family. It’s a dynamic community initiative designed to build excitement and engage our younger generation to help tackle the global water crisis. Students will have the experience to feel what it is like to carry heavy loads of water over a long distance. The money is used to finance water projects in developing countries. As a preparation for the walk, teachers may use materials provided by H2O for Life and other sources to educate the children about the importance of clean water and adequate sanitation in developing countries.
Set a convenient date that works for your group. Many schools walk during their school day; others have chosen an after school or week-end venue.
Here are three examples of successful walks held by H2O for Life schools.
Prepare for your Walk
It is advisable to map out the route well beforehand. To make sure it measures 5 km, you could measure it on a map or cycle the route with a bicycle computer or GPS receiver. We also recommend you walk the route yourself to see what it feels like.
*At Schools, a track or field area often works well for a walk, and is easy to organize and monitor. It is also an easy gathering place for a group.
If you do not choose to use the school grounds:
- Do not make the walk too hard (inclines, unpaved roads).
- Avoid traffic, busy crossings and major roads.
- We advise a circular route (the start will become the finish) and a nice break halfway, if possible offering a soft drink and/or snack. Make sure that there are volunteers to man these areas.
- Children will enjoy the walk more if you make it as varied as possible.
Include an area with lots of people. The walk will get more local attention this way and people will be able to see what the children have to do for the money they collected. Successful areas to pass through have included: care homes, parks, shopping streets, government offices and buildings of the sponsors.
- If possible, visit a water-related point of interest along the way.
Give the start and finish of the walk a purpose. The start is the place where water is handed out (water supply point – the “source”). The finish is where the water is collected or returned to nature (back to the pond, ditch, flower beds, trees, water barrel, etc).
- Make sure the start and finish are easily recognizable.
- Make a good map and description of the route so it is clear for everyone exactly where it is. If possible, mark the route with arrows or other signage.
- Permits: The local authorities may need to be notified of the event. The walks often require a permit, but sometimes all that is needed is to inform the authorities. Ask well in advance what is needed in your particular area.