Saturday, September 7, 2019

Water first Essay Example for Free

Water first Essay The film captures the inspiring story of Charles Banda, a man who has dedicated his life to providing clean and safe water to the people of Malawi. It was this dedication that saw him turn down a political office offer from none other than the country’s president. If you were to ask anyone in Africa what a political appointment means in that side of the world then you would understand the depth of his commitment to provide water to the impoverished citizens of Malawi, a poor sub-Saharan nation of 12 million people with serious water deficiency. However, back to the film, and something one gets from the film is how grave the consequences of not having water are. The film avoids going in to those morbid details that have sometimes characterized films coming out of Africa and other third world countries. The film captures the green countryside showing a large water reservoir then moves on to show girls moving in a brownish environment (a symptom of dryness) carrying heavy loads in their heads- presumably water. Another scene shows a girl drawing water from a shallow well. The water she is drawing cannot be particularly termed as clean by any standards. It may not even qualify to wash utensils in a lower class neighborhood in Harlem. There are many other scenes of interest, but in the overall, the director does present a picture of the situation as it is in a majority of the African nations and other developing countries without taking away too much of their dignity. In addition, the film also presents some crucial numbers such as the number of people lacking clean water. Relationship between water and the millennium development goals (MDGs) The millennium development goals were arrived at in 2000 by a United Nations declaration and it is envisioned that its targets are to be reached by 2015. There are 8 goals in total, and watching the film, I have a clear picture of the central role to be played by water in the attainment of each of the eight goals. There are two women in the film who give us the common diseases in their communities and among them; cholera and dysentery emerge as some of the most common. You will hardly hear of these diseases in the developed world, and even when they happen they do not come in catastrophic proportions. They are mostly isolated. Yet, for African countries such as Malawi, cholera epidemics are not uncommon. Of importance however, is how the girl child is affected by lack of water. Goal three of the millennium development goals is to promote gender equality and empower women. This goal cannot be achieved if the girls are going to continue carrying the heavy loads for long distances as we saw in the film. Unfortunately, most of the countries that are yet to achieve the MDGs are mostly composed of patriarchal societies. These societies hardly value the place of the woman and for that reason; the women are treated as second class citizens. They are mostly confined to lowly duties such as fetching water, cooking, washing utensils and taking care of small children. Men, on the other hand, get to do more valuable jobs, most of which concern taking care of property. In fact, in such societies, women do not own property-they are properties themselves. Most of the roles listed for women will need water to perform and it is therefore incumbent upon them to ensure that they have enough water supplies. Given that scenario, we can then expect that water shortages will hardly affect men because they have no urgent need for it. As we have seen from the film, it is the girl child who is always out in the wild going to fetch water and one wonders whether she has the same chance of doing well in school in comparison with the boys. Long term empowerment of women cannot be achieved if the girls do not have equal access to education like their male counterparts. Of course, much more than the mere provision of water has to be done, but it has to be the starting point. After providing the water, civic education may then be done to get the society to appreciate the role education will play in the life of the girl child. An equally important area covered by the film is goal number two. This is the area of achieving universal primary education. By this declaration, it is hoped that by the year 2015, primary education will be a universal right for every child. For the girl child however, the right to education must go beyond the promulgation of such a policy. They have more specialized needs in terms of sanitation and without water then their school attendance cannot be guaranteed especially during menstruation periods. That means that their rights to education cannot be guaranteed because of water. Has the United Nations been successful? So far, the UN has been involved in a number of initiatives aimed at easing the strain on the available water resources. It has even predicted that future wars will be fought over water resources as opposed to the current wars, most of which are based on territorial disputes. The issue of water shortage cannot be addressed wholly; it requires addressing the underlying issues that cause it. The range of factors may include global warming, desertification and rapid industrialization. Although the UN does not explicitly list water as a basic human right, it does include access to food as a basic human right. It is hard for food to exist without water and it can therefore be assumed that the UN considers water a basic human rights. It cannot however be said that the organization has been successful at addressing the issue of water accessibility in most of the developing countries. The film gives a figure of 1 billion people as being unable to access water because of their inability to afford it yet most governments are busy privatizing the provision of water. An important lesson from the film is that water provision should have a social approach. The waterman in the film has been largely successful in his efforts because his social approach has enabled him to mobilize substantial resources for use in the sinking of wells. The developing countries are clearly not prepared to commercialize the provision of water because a substantial part of its population still does not have access to it. To that end, the UN needs to do more to dissuade these countries from commercializing the provision of such a basic commodity. Would I recommend the film? The situation in Malawi is representative of how the general situation is in most of the developing countries and especially those in Africa. I would recommend the film to anyone interested in getting a feel of what the average person in a country without water is going through. Those of us in the developed countries take too many things for granted. Many cannot fathom life without the running water or electricity. Many of those in the developed world get to learn about the problems facing other citizens of the world from national geographic channels or Hollywood movies such as blood diamonds. Although they are made in Africa or whichever continent, their objectives are mainly commercial and may not therefore, have the patience or motivation to develop a wholesome picture of the situation. The film attempts to give a balanced view of the situation without having to apportion blame, either to the government or the communities. It simply calls our attention to the problems existing in these countries and leaves the rest to our own judgments. I therefore propose the film to anyone intent on understanding the development needs in these countries. Works Cited UNDP. Millennium Development Goals. 05 Apr 2010 http://www. undp. org/mdg/basics. shtml.

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