Over the past few months, most of us have stood at the sink singing happy birthday twice over as we wash our hands. It has become a key message worldwide from the World Health Organisation and our own Government during the COVID19 pandemic to wash our hands properly and regularly to help control the virus. It is undoubtedly something that will remain common practise for years to come.
The virus is easily transferred from surface to surface by touch if you do not wash your hands, it can also enter your body this way if you touch your face, with the potential to make you very ill. Hand washing works by removing the virus from your hands which eliminates the pathway and reduces its overall spread. It is a simple and effective way to control the virus.
However, having these facilities to wash our hands with, is something that can easily be taken for granted in the UK whilst 3 billion people across the globe do not have this access in their own homes, even though The United Nations has classified the access to water and sanitation as a Human right. Therefore, for those countries without this access their potential for spreading the disease through surfaces is much greater. WaterAid is an international NGO working across 28 countries to provide access to clean water, toilets and good hygiene, to people living there and fulfil this basic human right that many are denied. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic funding of water infrastructures has been greatly reduced.
Therefore, WaterAid has launched a campaign to tackle this issue through art. Art of Change is aimed at getting governments to double investments to better provide clean water and hygiene for global action against COVID19. Judges, Grayson Perry, Jean Jullien, Aida Muluneh and Russell Tovey, recently shortlisted 12 finalists from 285 global entries for Public vote of which piece will be the image leading the campaign to present to world leaders.
Grayson said, “WaterAid’s campaign is a great way for artists from around the world to unite and use their creative skills to highlight the importance of everyone having the basics of clean water and hygiene and the vast inequalities that exist as we tackle a shared crisis. ”
With the World Bank estimating the worst recession since the Second World War and governments budgets having to be readjusted to cope with the pandemic and its impacts within their own countries, aid that would usually be there to support developing countries has been vastly reduced. On top of this countries needing the aid to develop their water systems have had to divert their own resources away from improving these infrastructures in order to cope with the pandemic. WaterAid hopes this campaign will bring this issue to the attention of World Leaders and inspire action of governments to provide access to clean water and hygiene for all.
Editor, 25th August 2020