We've all been there, standing in line to use the toilet. The wait can seem like forever, but in reality it's probably only a few inconvenient minutes. Now imagine having to wait for hours every single day just to use a private toilet, only to find the facilities lacking at the front of the queue and nothing to wash your hands with.
We all know a country can only develop fully if all of its population has access to water and sanitation. Taps and toilets transform people's life chances, leading to better health, education and economic opportunities. It is fundamental to eradicating extreme poverty and to women and girl's empowerment.
Next time I turn the news on and see a story about people living through a drought, or floods affecting people's houses and lives, I won't just feel sorry for them. I will understand a lot better what they must be going through and will pick up that phone and donate more and encourage everyone I know to do the same.
At first it sounds impossible, but it's not. People do it all over the world for days and even weeks on end. I remember vividly the second week living with my host family in Nicaragua. We had a big orange carton called a "pichinga" which we filled up with water from the well at the bottom of our garden and purified with a chlorine tablet. Occasionally we would have running water from a tap to be purified.
Climate change, inefficient water delivery systems, and intensive agriculture are making it more and more difficult to get clean water. As the world observes World Water Day on March 22, we need to consider what we need to do to solve water problems in Central Asia and the rest of the world. It's up to all of us.
However, I bet if our tea consumption or ability to put a load of washing in was rationed, people might think differently. Equally, if we weren't able to take a summer stroll alongside our favourite river or go paddling in the sea on one of those rare hot summer days, people may take more of an interest.
Feeding a growing global population of nine billion people by 2050 is one of the world's biggest challenges--especially in the context of rapid urbanisation, rising amounts of food waste and climate change. During one day of discussions senior executives from agribusiness, policymaking and the NGO community examined approaches to food and nutrition security.
India has undergone an astonishing transformation over the past decade or so. When I first visited India in the early 70s few would have predicted that this amazing country would today have an IT industry worth over $100 billion a year or that Indian companies would come to own some of the best known British brands such as Jaguar Land Rover and Tetley Tea...