The real price of water




United Kingdom


2 minutes



Our advocacy film for UNICEF Somalia has received over 23 million views worldwide.

In partnership with UNICEF, ‘The Real Price of Water’ aims to increase awareness of the distances children have to walk to find water in Somalia.


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.

With many water sources drying up or being contaminated, it has become common for children in the drought-hit nation to 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.


In conjunction with UNICEF, Reelmedia Film aimed to relay the reality of the drought in Somalia to a Western audience. For one day, a stall in a busy Brighton 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 ingredients might contain, Cholera, Polio, Typhoid and Hepatitis A.


Furthermore, the film has received over 23 million views worldwide, raising funds from humanitarian and development organisations as well as widespread awareness.

Finally, please read UNICEF’s blog on filming the social experiment here.

Reelmedia Film is a creative film and multimedia production studio that places people at the centre of stories, to inspire change and motivate audiences to action. We work with organisations across the development and humanitarian sectors and our films explore issues and tell stories from around the world.

Our passion to create compelling films and multimedia that affect change and communicate the initiatives, campaigns and programming of development and humanitarian organisations, has taken us around the world, often in challenging contexts.

We are a highly experienced team with over 15 years experience working for global organisations, in the development and humanitarian sectors, successfully delivering high-quality content for a wide spectrum of audiences across the world and in multiple languages.

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