Celebrities and others will take part in an event in Turkey on March 22 to mark World Water Day, carrying water-laden buckets to empathize with people in Africa who walk six kilometers (3.7 miles) on average to access clean water.
IDEA Universal, an organization which fights droughts in Africa, opens water wells in settlements and establishes smart villages with the support of benefactors, is preparing to hold an event that will set an example for the world on the annual UN observance day.
Celebrities from television and social media as well as volunteers from organizations will walk the same distance as Africans during the event on the Formula 1 course in the Turkish metropolis of Istanbul.
- ‘Polluted water claims more lives than wars’
Hayri Dagli, the founder and director of IDEA Universal, said polluted water claims more lives than all wars and violence on Earth.
Stating that the event will be a first in Turkey, Dagli said the organization named it ‘Empathy Walk.’
"With volunteers, celebrities and social media influencers in Turkey, we will take a six-kilometer-long walk on the Formula 1 course with buckets in hands as part of the Empathy Walk," he said.
"It is not about finishing the six-kilometer walk. The goal is to understand one billion people on Earth better, to empathize with them even for only a day or an hour. And to say 'Take action for the water crisis' to the world."
- Global message from Istanbul to the world
Dagli emphasized that the water crisis is a solvable problem.
"We can transform a person's life with a tiny bit of support of 120 liras ($16). We can provide water permanently. Therefore, everyone can make a contribution -- even if just a drop -- with this tiny support to the solution of the water crisis. Everyone can be a part of this. This is what we well underline on World Water Day with our six-kilometer Empathy Walk on the Formula 1 course."
Dagli called on everyone to take action on the water crisis together and noted that many celebrities are supporting and joining them.
He added that they want to draw attention to the water crisis not only in Africa but in Turkey as well.
"Contrary to what is known, it [Turkey] is not a water-rich country. It is a country which feels the water crisis a bit more closely each day. Therefore, it is a responsibility of all of us. We must take action for it. We must take measures for it."
Dagli said celebrities including Ece Uslu, Zeynep Casalini, Dilara Kocak and Dincer Güner will be among the participants and that they expect the number of people taking part to grow.
Noting that they intend to organize the event every year, Dagli said: "We want to give a 'take action' message from Istanbul, Turkey to the world. With this walk, we will call on the United Nations and governments. We will give a global message from Istanbul."
*Writing by Dilan Pamuk in Ankara