WALKING AROUND THE WORLD for clean water and sanitation

My name is Anna Harrington and I will spend the next six years circumnavigating the globe on foot to support goal 6 of the sustainable development goals.

Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” 

My mission will take me to 28 European capitals, Asia, Australia and South America to remind world leaders of their promise to provide everyone with clean drinking water and a toilet by 2030. (Did you know more people on earth have access to cell phones than toilets?)

What are the sustainable development goals?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is a global call to action adopted by 193 nations to end extreme poverty, fight inequalities, and tackle climate change. It's a set of 17 goals to transform our planet and the lives of everyone by 2030, leaving no one behind.

In 2014, I walked coast-to-coast across the United States to raise awareness for Shriners Hospitals for Children® because they had successfully treated my nephew’s medical condition and I wanted to express my gratitude in a meaningful way. 

Shriners hospitals is a system of 22 hospitals, and clinics in the United States, Canada and Mexico, providing expert medical care for all of their patients, regardless of their family's ability to pay.  

I walked 20 miles (32km) a day, which took me about seven hours. I trekked through the heat, cold, rain and snow, but the difference for me, is I had a choice. One out of ten people don’t enjoy that luxury.

Collectively, women and children spend 200 million hours each day fetching water for their families. 

Why am I walking around the world to support goal 6?

A visit to Nicaragua in 2015 opened my eyes to the struggle many women and children face around the world, and it forever changed how I think about water. 

I saw women burdened with the arduous task of fetching water from a nearby river. Some women make the journey several times a day, while carrying a 5-gallon bucket of water on the top of their head weighing up to 45 lbs. 

The water is a frequent cause of illness, but the river is the communities only water source, therefore, they have no other choice but to drink it. 

844 million people live without access to clean drinking water, and 2.5 billion people don't have access to a toilet. 

Providing everyone with access to safe drinking water would empty half of the world's hospital beds, yes, HALF, and it would allow children, especially girls, to return to school since they usually have the primary responsibility of collecting water. 

Every step I take is for the men, women and children that walk in search of water.

This is the people’s agenda, a plan of action for ending poverty in all its dimensions, irreversibly, everywhere, and leaving no one behind.
— Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations