Thirsting for Justice: Join the Campaign for Palestinian Water Rights

The Middle East Children's Alliance is excited to take on organizing the Thirsting for Justice Campaign in the US!

MECA is a member of the Emergency Water Sanitation and Hygiene group (EWASH) in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, a coalition of 30 leading humanitarian organizations that launched the Thirsting for Justice Campaign. While MECA works to provide safe, clean water to children in Gaza through the Maia Project we are also working to educate and advocate for Palestinian water rights. Starting in September, MECA and the Thirsting for Justice campaign are organizing educational activities in schools in Gaza about the water crisis. We are also asking our friends and supporters around the world to get involved. 

World Water Day is Friday, March 22, 2013 and Earth Day is Monday, April 22, 2013. This year, show your support for the Palestinian struggle for water justice by organizing a teach-in sometime in the month to learn the facts about the context and take action in support of this basic human right.

The Thirsting for Justice Campaign aims to influence decision-makers to take decisive action in support of Palestinian water rights. This task has been made difficult due to limited public knowledge of the ongoing denial of Palestinian water rights as a result of Israel’s protracted occupation. 

The Thirsting for Justice Campaign calls on supporters worldwide to observe World Water Day by organizing community teach-ins between March 22-April 22 to gain an accurate and factual portrayal of the challenges Palestinians are confronted with in their daily lives when accessing clean water and to promote discussion on how best to support the preservation of their water rights, including control over their natural resources. In Gaza, it is estimated that 90-95% of the water is unfit for human consumption. Now is the time to act. 

Sign up to organize a teach-in in your home, school, or community center today! We will provide a resource pack, discuss ideas, and answer your questions. 

**Please note you can organize the teach-in on another date if March 22 is not convenient.**

What’s a teach-in?
Teach-ins are educational forums where people come together to focus and discuss on a single topic. Teach-ins are meant to be practical, participatory and oriented towards action. Their main goal is to educate people and to push them to action.

What steps are needed to organize the teach-in?
The organization of the teach-in will be interactive. The Thirsting for Justice team based in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip prepared a resource pack for trainers. Once organizations or individuals register to host a teach-in, MECA and the Thirsting for Justice team will work with the trainers to structure the best format for a successful event, one that strikes a balance between education and action.

Why a teach-in now?
While the theme for World Water Day 2013 is “cooperation” the context in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is anything but. One party, the Government of Israel, influences the water allocations of another, the Palestinians, through an institutionalized regime of control. Israel for instance controls all sources of water in the West Bank, abstracting close to 90 per cent of its annual sustainable yield, leaving Palestinians with a trickle. A teach-in will help campaigners to understand the reality on the ground and promote discussion on strategies for change. 

Past Actions:

2012 Summer Challenge: More than 90 MECA friends and supporters took part in this challenge by living on 24 liters of water for 24 hours, a reality faced by many Palestinians in the West Bank today, particularly during the summer, when Israeli national water company Mekorot reduces water supplies.

This amount of water had to be enough for drinking, cooking, washing and hygiene. Here are estimates of water consumption for different activities to help you understand the difficulty of the challenge.

Visit the live blog to see testimonies from challenge participants