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The White House gets a free makeover–African-style…The Times of Malta-April 23, 2010

Posted Date: 23/04/2010

The White House gets a free makeover – African-style…

Photo Montage

The  White House in Washington was placed in the midst of a water-deprived area n this photomontage marking the first High Level Meeting on Sanitation and Water, which takes place in the American capital today.  SOS Malta director Claudia Taylor-East said this was a historic meeting that could deliver real results if the right decisions were made.  Such decisions could stop children dying of diarrhoea, free up hospital beds and give children the chance to get a proper education in Africa.      Photo Montage: Saddington & Baynes for WaterAid and End Water Poverty

One of the world's most recognizable buildings has been given a shocking makeover by international charity WaterAid and global campaign group End Water Poverty. 

Gone are the immaculate White House lawns, in their place a squalid otherworldly scene where children collect water from a filthy rubbish-strewn water hole and long queues form at the standpoint. 

Except that this isn't another world.  Having to use a contaminated and potentially fatal water source is a daily reality for 884 million people.  Then there are the 2.6 billion who have no access to a toilet.  

"This is the White House as you've never seen it before," said Professor Edward Kairu, Chair of the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW).  "We wanted to bring a snapshot of one aspect of life in many African countries to Washington this week to coincide with the historic high level meeting on water and sanitation.  The lack of these two basic necessities has a huge impact on the health, education and economic prosperity of millions across the continent and efforts to stamp out poverty are in serious jeopardy unless there is concerted action on the part of ministers attending the meeting to reverse the decades of neglect. "

The makeover took place to mark the first ever High Level Meeting on Sanitation and Water which takes place in Washington today.  At this meeting Ministers and policy makers from 30 developed and developing countries have the opportunity to commit to financial and political action to tackle this forgotten crisis. 

According to the Managing Director of SOS Malta, Claudia Taylor-East, "We have an historic meeting that can deliver real results if the right decisions get made.  Decisions that could stop millions of children dying from diarrhoea, free up hospital beds, give girls in particular the chance to get an education and mothers the opportunity to earn a living instead of having to walk hours to fetch water."

"There is no doubt that if ministers and leaders had to endure these conditions in their own backyard they would take immediate action. Today they have the opportunity to do so and help bring an end to this scandalous crisis."


For more information, embargoed copies of the GLAAS report, to speak to a spokesperson or for high res images please contact: Claudia Taylor-East on 35621244123 or OR Chloe Irvine on 4477716 545 44,

About the image:

Photo Credit: Montage created by Saddington & Baynes for WaterAid and End Water Poverty.

The White House scene is an amalgamation of images taken of WaterAid's work across Africa to ensure access to safe water, hygiene education and sanitation for all. 



About SOS Malta

SOS Malta, a Maltese-registered NGO set up in 1991, aims at aiding people experiencing times of crisis and empowering them by providing support services and opportunities to implement development and change in their country to ensure a better quality of life. It encourages advocacy on behalf of social causes, as well as promotes models of good care and practice. In all its operations in Malta and overseas, SOS Malta also promotes volunteerism for effective sustainable development. The organisation is a source of knowledge and advice about the role and contribution of volunteerism and the benefits of civic engagement.











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