THE BLOG

Who Are the Invisible Workers Behind the Simple Water Tap?

22/03/2016 09:44 GMT | Updated 23/03/2017 09:12 GMT

If I want a cup of tea, I fill the kettle, boil the water and pour over my teabag.

If I want a shower, I just turn on the tap, adjust the temperature and enjoy.

If I want to water my plants, I just attach the hose and sprinkle away.

These are just some of the simple things I do every day never giving it a second thought. I turn on the tap and water runs out. But for millions of people, life is just not that easy, they cannot just turn on the tap, getting access to water is much more complicated.

Water is a vital resource for our everyday lives. Almost half of the world's workers - 1.5 billion people - work in water related sectors. It is astonishing just how many people it takes to ensure water is available to everyone. Today, 22 March, is World Water Day, and it is no surprise that the United Nations General Assembly have designated a day each year to recognise this and place water as a top issue in the 21st Century. But did you realise that it's the job of millions of working horses and donkeys to transport water?

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Getting access to water is a challenge for the many families living in poverty across the world. Not only is it needed for their own personal survival, but importantly for their livelihoods, to water their crops and to water their livestock, providing food for their families and food to sell at the local market place which will earn them a regular income. In these places there is no tap. Every day someone in the family will need to collect water for the family's needs. It is likely to involve a journey, sometimes of many kilometres, to a water point and back carrying a container of water. The task of collecting water is often a job for the women. It is back breaking work, unless you have the help of a donkey. Yes, a donkey can make all the difference in the world to these women. The job gets done quicker, leaving time for other things like spending time with their children. The burden on the women is reduced and she can carry more water, perhaps even some to sell to other families, earning extra income for the family.

When there is a healthy working donkey in the family, it plays a vital role in the livelihoods of people and it changes lives for the better, but why do so few recognise this? In the Brooke's recent research on "Invisible helpers", one of the female participants was quoted as saying "a donkey is like a tap in my home" - the donkey is a lifeline that connects people to water, the donkey is the invisible worker that replaces the tap in millions of families.

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So when you next turn on your tap to make a cup of tea, have a shower or water your plants, don't forget about the hard working donkey, the tap who is working hard to connect people with water and provide them with a better life, all over the world.