Did you notice a few people wandering through the city with a grumpy look on their dial recently? Just quietly, they were probably suffering from caffeine withdrawals! WaterAid Australia held their annual fundraising event in March, The Water Challenge. Participants raised awareness for the charity by cutting all beverages other than water out of their diet for a month.
One in ten people do not have access to safe, clean water, and many women and children waste hours each day walking to collect water. It's a depressing figure, isn't it? Thankfully, WaterAid are doing something about it. They’ve made it their mission to support the world’s poorest people to gain access to safe water.
Aussie model and social media influencer Elyse Knowles took part in the challenge. Here, she tells Cosmo about her experience.
Over to you, Elyse:
“My main motivation in participating in the WaterAid challenge was to convey how clean water is integral to one’s health and that this is something we often take for granted in a first world country. Many people walk enormous distances to access even the smallest amounts of water to provide for themselves and their families. Around 315,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. That’s almost 900 children per day.
I was excited to do The Water Challenge, but I was dreading it a little because of my boyfriend Josh – I knew he would complain the whole time.
Water is a luxury and I think a lot of us in this day and age just take it for granted. We turn the tap on and we wash our hands and we don’t even think twice about it all.
For me, an average day of beverages usually consists of:
• A bottle of water drunk over a gym sesh the drive home
• A mug of hot water and apple cider vinegar before breakfast to get the bowels moving
• I have a big 2 litre refillable bottle which I always take with me when I’m on the go. It’s great because I can always keep track of my water intake for the day. I almost always drink a full two litres which is great, but the downside is that I am often going to the toilet!
• If I meet up with a girlfriend for lunch, I love an almond milk tea leaf chai - it's my favourite treat! Otherwise I’ll grab a fresh juice or smoothie
• If I'm working from home, I drink out of my favourite mug and refill it with hot water about 10 times a day. I love drinking hot water, I think it's also great for your belly as it doesn’t shock your system the way cold water does
• I will often drink multiple cups of tea throughout the day
On day one, The hardest beverage for me to give up is most certainly my chai, I have this every breakfast. Some have coffee addiction, I have chai addiction!
There were actually a few positives to the challenge. Drinking water has so many benefits, especially when it's your only liquid. My skin looks and feels so much better. Drinking lots of water and working out is a great combo!
I think towards the end, that’s when it got harder. You just have to remind yourself why you’re doing it. You can just look on WaterAid’s Instagram and it gives you inspiration as to why you’re doing it. You see those kids’ faces in the villages when they finally receive clean water and they’re so happy and relieved. The men go to work and the women stay at home and they can walk 20 km in a day just to get clean water. It takes most of their day to come back with a big carton of water and that lasts a long time.
There’s a huge difference between the communities that haven't received help from WaterAid yet and those who have - everyone is a lot happier, they’ve all got smiles on their face.
I’m really glad I did the challenge. When it was all over I definitely went down the street and got an almond milk chai.”
To learn more about WaterAid and the important work they do, head to Wateraid.org.