A hike for water – Marieke do Roo reports on climbing the UK Three Peaks for New Ways

A hike for water – Marieke do Roo reports on climbing the UK Three Peaks for New Ways

In May this year, with a group of Mercer colleagues and friends, we took part in the Three Peaks Challenge, organized by New Ways. We tackled the 3 highest peaks of the UK, Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis in 3 days. It was challenging and demanding but satisfying and when we finished, tired and footsore, we had the joy of knowing we had successfully raised nearly £25,000 – exceeding the target by 25%. The funds raised will support the construction of a solar powered water pump system, to building a borehole and a water pump to supply the needs of a local community in Turkana, Kenya, an area the size of Wales. One single borehole will provide drinking water for a village of over 2,500 people as well as support agricultural development through irrigation and education. 

Individuals and teams from Mercer have supported New Ways in the past, with sponsored events and dinners but there is always a need for new ideas. Climbing the 3 peaks of the UK was suggested to raise awareness through the industry network and make it a fun activity to get involved. The Mercer team were soon joined by friends from Aviva, M&G, GAM and New Ways. Three Peaks Challenge – JustGiving – you can still support the team! 😊

The focus of the charity is on Health & Water & Education in Turkana. The region is mostly desert and the landscape is continuing to get drier due to global warming. Where droughts used to happen every 5-7 years, the frequency has now increased to every 2 years.

Water is the one thing we need to survive, therefore access to clean water is central to all change. Historically, in semi-nomadic communities like in Turkana, men and boys look after the animals with women and girls responsible for the household, including fetching water which can involve walking for miles. It also means that young girls do not have access to schooling.

The installation of the borehole and the pump allows for the semi-nomadic communities to set up their homes near a clean water pump as opposed to open water sources which can become contaminated or run dry. By having the water in the village or close by, the girls can be in education. Once girls are in education, parents are more supportive of leaving them in school. Once girls are educated, they tend to have children later and often fewer in number. Their time can be spent on other activities including learning about agriculture and crops, and how to grow food resulting in improvement of their nutrition.

The more awareness raised for the challenges of the communities in Turkana, the more support and funding can be channelled to address and better their situation. We know that over the almost 25 years we have been working in Turkana that the overall situation has improved but there is still lots to be done. We thank all our supporters over the years for their amazing commitment to help us change lives and help communities to thrive.

May 2022

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