2024 Children’s Water Festivals: Clean Water Access Education for Ontarian students

2024 Children’s Water Festivals: Clean Water Access Education for Ontarian students

Water festival in Peel
Good Neighbours with H2jO

This spring, Good Neighbours Canada staff have had the pleasure of joining Children’s Water Festival events across Ontario; the Niagara Children’s Water Festival from April 30-May 1, the Peel Children’s Water Festival from May 23-24, and the Hamilton Children’s Water Festival from May 28-30. Overall, our activities were held with over 3200 students in Niagara, over 4000 in Peel, and over 1000 in Hamilton!


The Children's Water Festival creates an opportunity for students from grades 2 to 5 to learn about the importance of water conservation, protection, awareness, respect, science technology, history and health. 


Good Neighbours Canada was excited to take on the opportunity to educate children about water access in other parts of the world, including Zambia, in which almost half of the population, especially children, have to travel up to four hours a day to the nearest stream, river, or lake to collect water. These water sources are often contaminated as they’re shared with entire villages and local wildlife for drinking, bathing and household use, leaving communities at risk of preventable waterborne illnesses.


As such, we implemented an activity, “Step4Water”, with the goal to give students an idea of how difficult it may be for children in Zambia to walk long distances with heavy buckets of water. In this activity, students thought about the different ways they use water around their home, then were challenged to carry a bucket for a short distance of around 10 steps. Of course, the 10 steps the students walked are very minimal compared to the distance that children in Zambia need to walk to access water. This activity aimed to encourage students to appreciate their easy access to water in their own homes here in Ontario.

Children watching our clean water 360 video on ipads

A second activity we held at the Hamilton Children’s Water Festival, the “Virtual Reality Experience”, gave students a realistic viewpoint of what it’s like to collect water from wells built by Good Neighbours Canada under our Wishing Well Project. Students thought about the gift that Good Neighbours’ work brings to Zambian children of reducing the amount of time it takes them to collect water, by answering the question, ‘What would you do with four extra hours in a day?’. 


Overall, the activities and discussions we’ve held throughout our time at the festivals received many positive responses from students, parents, teachers, and volunteers. “The discussion around water access is very important. This was a really informative activity!”, a teacher attending the Peel Children’s Water Festival kindly told us.


We thank our team members Zuhal Mojadidi, Evelyn Wu, Nishana Ganesh and Rachel Morrison, who had an amazing time seeing the students enjoy the activities, engage in meaningful discussions, and voice their appreciation for their access to water. We look forward to returning for the 2025 Children’s Water Festival season to share our global work with more wonderfully curious children!


Good Neighbours Canada’s project “Wishing Well” supports and offers families access to clean water and gives children the opportunity to further their education free from their familial burden to collect water each day. Transforming lives drop by drop: Join our mission to build Wishing Wells in rural Africa. Learn more about our Wishing Well Project here.