Action Zones 

Digging deep: WaterAid launches Big Dig Appeal

Paul Daley is the local co-ordinator for WaterAid and is happy  to be contacted should people have any questions or should they like to invite a WaterAid speaker to speak at their church:


One BIG collection to help change 134,000 people’s lives


wateraid 2WaterAid is asking churches across the country to do something amazing and help change the lives of over 134,000 people across rural Malawi by holding a collection.

The Big Dig Appeal, launched on 18 June, offers a truly special opportunity because, for the next 90 days, the UK Government has promised to match each gift pound for pound, reaching twice as many people with clean water and sanitation, transforming twice as many lives forever.


In Malawi, 20% of the population has no access to clean water, while half the population has nowhere safe to go to the toilet. The resulting diarrhoeal diseases claim the lives of 9,000 children every year. But we can change that.


Grace is just one of the thousands of people across rural Malawi congregations from across the UK will be supporting with access to life saving water and sanitation.

Aged 62, Grace has great energy and optimism for life. But her body has been weakened by repeated bouts of dysentery caused by the water she has no choice but to drink. She either has to walk to the local stream or to a scoop-hole to fetch water, climbing into a deep, muddy hole, then out again with 20 litres of water. The water she collects is the colour of tea – so dirty, you wouldn’t even wash your clothes in it.

 “I pray that we’ll have good water nearby, that is safe water,” she said. “I know God goes through other people as well, that they will come and help us. So I am praying hard so that our lives will be improved.”

Your church can answer Grace’s prayers

By holding a collection and sending donations to WaterAid before 18 September, Grace’s prayers will be answered.


WaterAid will be offering the public a unique opportunity to follow its progress in Malawi. Through the Big Dig Blog, they can hear directly from two of the communities benefitting from the appeal, Bokola and Kaniche, as they get access to clean water and sanitation for the first time. Find out more at


The appeal will also be supported by 30 commercial radio stations across the country in a unique partnership to further our reach.


Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid, said: “It can cost as little as £15 to provide one person in rural Malawi with safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation which means the  money raised will make a real difference to people’s lives. With the UK Government matching every pound, the public’s donations will go twice as far.”


Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said: "Donations to WaterAid’s Big Dig Appeal will help communities in Malawi living without clean, safe water or proper latrines to get access to these vital resources that we in the West take for granted.


"To support this life-saving work, and in recognition of the generosity of the British public even in times of austerity, I am pleased  to announce that the British government will help WaterAid transform the lives of twice as many people by matching pound for pound all public donations to the appeal."


Help reach twice as many people in rural Malawi

To find out more about WaterAid’s Big Dig Appeal and to order your free fundraising resources, go to  or call 020 7793 4594.


For more information contact:

Laura Crowley – / 0207 793 4965
Rachel Pilkington – / 0207 793 4943

WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation.  The international organisation works in 27 countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific region to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world’s poorest communities.  Over the past 30 years, WaterAid has reached 15.9 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 11 million people with sanitation.  For more information, visit


·         783 million people in the world do not have access to safe water. This is around 1 in 10 people worldwide.

·         2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation. This is around 1 in 3 people worldwide.

·         For every £1 invested in water and sanitation, £8 is returned in increased productivity.

·         Just £15 can enable one person to access safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation.

Celebrity support

The appeal is being backed by:

  • Singer and television personality Rachel Stevens
  • Comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar
  • Actor Hugh Bonneville
  • Former boxer Joe Calzaghe
  • Rock band Biffy Clyro
  • Dancer Camilla Dallerup and her husband, actor Kevin Sacre
  • Television personality Lorraine Kelly
  • Television personality Joanna Lumley
  • Former footballer Cyrille Regis
  • Actor John Simm
  • Singer and presenter Denise Van Outen
  • Celebrity builder Tommy Walsh
  • Singer Kim Wilde