How far would you walk for water?

Today, Somalia is one of four identified by the United Nations as at high risk of extreme hunger and famine due to the drought – along with South Sudan, Yemen and Nigeria. It is expected that the number of people in need of clean water, sanitation and hygiene will increase from 3,3 million to 4,5 million – nearly one third of Somalia’s population.

In partnership with UNICEF, Reelmedia’s new advocacy film, ‘The real price of water‘ aims to increase awareness of the dire situation faced by children in Somalia.


With many water sources drying up or being contaminated, it has become common for children in the drought-hit nation walk long distances (up to 50 km) to find water.

Lack of sanitation and services, as well as poor hygiene, are significant contributors to the high rates of disease in Somalia. Endemic in Somalia, waterborne cholera and other diseases are now spreading faster and further than anyone has seen for many years.

As of July 2017, untreated drinking water has caused over 71,000 cases of cholera or severe diarrhoea in 2017, resulting in nearly 1,100 deaths. Cholera can kill a severely malnourished and dehydrated child in a matter of hours.

Reelmedia aimed to relay the reality of the drought in Somalia to a Western audience. For one day, a stall in a busy street sold water to thirsty shoppers. However, in place of price tags, the bottles were marked with a range of number of kilometres that mothers and their children typically walk to find water in the Horn of Africa; with ‘prices’ reaching 50km. If the customer was still interested in purchasing a bottle of water, the person was asked to walk the corresponding number of kilometres on a treadmill.

On completion, those customers who completed the challenge were offered a bottle of water. When asked to check the label, the customers noticed the water might contain, Cholera, Polio, Typhoid and Hepatitis A.

You can watch the film on UNICEF’s Facebook page here

About Reelmedia Film

Reelmedia Film is creative documentary film studio, based in Brighton. We specialise in communicating the stories of development and humanitarian organisations, as well as values-based clients and working on our own productions.

We use visual storytelling for positive change and are passionate about the power of documentary film and multimedia to enhance understandings about our world and the people that live here.

We look to character-led stories and compelling narratives to tell stories that affect change in audiences. and we pride ourselves on sensitive, ethical and collaborative ways of working. We believe this creates honest and compelling narratives that are engaging and empowering, rather than instructional. 

Working with a broad spectrum of organisations across the globe, we have successfully communicated the stories of development and humanitarian initiatives across a broad range of contexts and programmes.

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