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Last Updated: Friday, 4 February, 2005, 23:54 GMT
Water workers on Africa mission
Women carrying water
Women and girls are usually charged with fetching water
Twelve UK water company workers are to visit Tanzania to help raise awareness about the millions in the world who lack access to clean drinking water.

The volunteers, who are already active in fundraising for charity WaterAid, come from a number of regional firms.

WaterAid will take the group to rural areas where there are no safe drinking water facilities, as well as to some villages where progress is being made.

Every 15 seconds, one child dies from water-related illness.

WaterAid said more than a billion people in the world do not have access to safe water and more than two billion lack adequate sanitation.

Around 70% of Tanzania's rural population has no access to protected water sources.

As part of the two-week visit the volunteers will spend a day living alongside a family in the deprived Dodoma region.

They will join villagers on their daily trek to fetch water, which is often dirty and causes disease, said volunteer Liz Almond, an education programme co-ordinator for Thames Water.

Tough interview

"It's very sad to think that still happens in this day and age, that people walk for miles in the sun carrying back-breaking containers of water that isn't even clean," she said.

They will later visit villages where the charity's project work is in action, and another that has already received clean water supplies.

The volunteers came through a tough interview process to get their company's place on the trip, Ms Almond told BBC News.

"I am a little daunted by the prospect of going," she said ahead of the group's departure for the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam on Saturday.

I expect to come back with a lot of pictures and stories, and will probably do a roadshow around the company
Thames Water education programme co-ordinator Liz Almond

The purpose of the visit is to raise awareness in the UK, among water company colleagues, schools, businesses and local communities, about the scale of the problem.

They also hope to inspire others to get involved in volunteering for WaterAid.

"I expect to come back with a lot of pictures and stories, and will probably do a roadshow around the company," Ms Almond told BBC News.

"I'm already part of a speaker programme run by the charity so will also be going outside doing talks."

WaterAid , which runs projects to provide safe domestic water, sanitation and hygiene education in 15 countries, began working in Tanzania in 1983.

Its 2005 Give Water, Give Life campaign will involve donation envelopes being sent out to UK homes with water bills over the next few months.

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