President’s Message: Water – A Basic Human Right

Dear Soroptimists,

Human Rights Day (link) is observed each year on 10 December – the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (link). For Soroptimists, 10 December is recognised as International Day and for decades, this day has stood as THE most important day for Soroptimists all over the world.

Each year, clubs support thousands of projects, each focusing on the SI mission of Educating, Empowering and Enabling women and girls. Today, on International Day, I invite you to harness your collective power in support of the Soroptimist International President’s Appeal, 2017-2019, and make a tangible difference to the lives of women and girls most in need.

Women, Water & Leadership, SI President’s Appeal 2017-2019

My President’s Appeal focuses on ‘Women, Water & Leadership’. It is a programme with projects on five different continents, where we combine the three Sustainable Development Goals SDG 4 Quality Education, SDG 5 Gender Equality and SDG 6 Clean Water & Sanitation for all, ensuring that women and girls have the capacity, experience and education needed to manage water resources, and gain careers in water-related professions. Our ambition with the ‘Women, Water & Leadership’ programme is to increase awareness of the vital role of women as equal partners and experts at all levels in the water sector.

My Appeal focuses on one very basic human right: the right for all people to have access to water. Accessible, clean and safe water for all, for all purposes and to have women involved as equal partners, agents of change and experts. And that brings us back to Human Rights Day. Although in 1948, those who contributed to the Declaration of Human Rights did not have the foresight to understand the role of water as a human right in itself – the word water is not to be found in the Declaration – the first step was taken in 2015 when the SDGs were unanimously agreed upon, and Water was given its own Goal – SDG (6).

The first project that we agreed on is in Kenya, and we have commenced the pilot project with 74 women, all small holder farmers, who own a minimum of one acre of land and have rainwater harvesting installed. These women will recieve vocational training and expert support to attain higher crop yields, using less water, the right seeds after soil analysis, less fertilizers, and less pesticides. The women contribute as well, but will be able to market their improved harvesting results at the end of their education and will be economically independent and empowered.

This International Day all members of Soroptimist International are invited to give generously to the SI President’s Appeal, 2017-2019, ‘Women, Water & Leadership’, which you can do directly through your own SI Federation.

Please click on the following links to find out how to donate through your Federation:

Soroptimist International of the Americas
Soroptimist International of Europe
Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland
Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific

Dear Soroptimists I wish you and yours a meaningful and peaceful Human Rights Day this December 10.

SI President, Mariet Verhoef-Cohen

Visit the Members Area of the SI website to read more about ‘Women, Water & Leadership’ (link).

Watch the Women, Water & Leadership Webinar (link).

Visit the SI Resources section of the Members Area to download official logos, PowerPoints, and leaflets for the President’s Appeal for your marketing uses (link).

If you would like to find out further information on current projects or if you have any questions regarding the President’s Appeal, please contact the Chair of the International President’s Appeal Hafdís Karlsdóttir:





Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Subscribe to receive the Soroptimist International Newsletter by email.