Walks for Water
Although there has been no limit to the creativity applied by students and schools to create innovative and effective service learning initiatives, by far the most common activity that students rally around is the Walk for Water.
Women and girls throughout Africa walk an average of 7km to get water every day- sometimes twice a day. The average load is 40 pounds (5 gallons at 8 pounds per gallon). As you can imagine, this takes hours every day- hours that could be spent more productively, providing time for women to take on small sustainable businesses or simply to pursue more personal interests and to rest.
This situation also robs young girls of their education who often have to quit school in order to help their mothers literally carry the burden of water. Girls will accompany their mother to the well and assist in carrying the water home- on foot, by bike or with a donkey cart.
Students in the USA resonate with this issue. Creating a “Walk for Water” is a clear and simple way to get out in the community to raise awareness. That’s what service learning is all about.
Students who walk for water often make signs, carry water themselves (sometimes the jugs are full when they begin, other times student will walk to a destination where they fill their jugs and carry them back full) to provide a sense of what it’s really like to have to walk for water every day.
We’ve seen successful walks for water ranging from just a few students from a small yet mobilized club, to an entire school walking together. Oftentimes, students will reach out to neighbors, friends and family to solicit donations for BARKA’s water initiatives in Burkina Faso. In the process, they raise local awareness of the situation that Burkinabè face on a daily basis, particularly women and girls.
If you or your club or school is considering a walk for water or similar service learning initiative, please download our Walk for Water Guide here.
Interested in having your school or community make direct connections with counterparts in Burkina Faso? Want help organizing a walk for water? Have a BARKA rep or its co-founders visit (or skype with) your school or community for a personal presentation of how to get involved. Click here for more information.