University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s #AddWater Campaign

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - The campaign #AddWater is a simple, but effective scheme where staff and students at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s (UWTSD) Lampeter campus are being asked to add 5p (or more) to the cost of the drinks they buy from the university’s catering outlets. The money raised will be used to ensure a safe water supply to communities in Kenya who are suffering heavily due to drought and deforestation. The initiative was created by Luci Attala, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, with the help of Tristan Nash, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy.

The severe drought affecting Kenya has driven up the cost of food and fueled inflation. Food security has deteriorated since the end of 2016; conditions remain dire in half of the country’s 47 counties. The situation has been exacerbated by the impact of climate change and it is anticipated that some regions could reach emergency levels of need before this year ends. The supply of maize, meat and milk has declined, reducing consumption, particularly for women and children. Many families are making do with just one meal in a day.

The UN development agency says that water holes and rivers have dried up in some areas, leading to widespread crop failure and livestock depletion. While in some counties the availability of water is scarce, and in some of the hardest hit areas, communities have had to move in search of water and pasture.

Attala has worked for many years with the Giriama farmers who live in the remote community of Bore Koromi near Malindi in Kenya’s Coastal Province. The region is subject to considerable tropical deforestation and is increasingly prone to severe droughts, floods and other unpredictable climatic changes. The increasing desertification is dramatically altering lifestyles. To combat subsistence insecurity local farmers are attempting to diversify in order to achieve food sovereignty by shifting from a reliance on maize horticulture and herding to any available alternative – in this case having partnered with a Welsh farming community of Lampeter for support via a carbon forestry focused community link under the Welsh Government’s International Sustainable Development and Wales/Africa Programme. This initiative is the latest sustainability campaign from the university, which was recently ranked 12th in the UK for sustainability in a league table by People and Planet.

Luci said: “Over the past few years I have watched the climate change and seen the devastating impact it has on people who rely directly on the environment for their livelihood. The rains have failed for 5 years running. This has meant that very few people have managed to harvest the maize they need to feed their families. It is both heart-breaking and infuriating to know that it is our consumption patterns that are to blame for their suffering. We, at UWTSD, can genuinely help them.”

Photo Credit: UWTSD