“Today is the last day of National Water Week, but I urge you to not only save water during campaigns like these. This needs your commitment every day. South Africa’s CLEAN water resources are very scarce. We need to keep saving water any way we can, and not be scared to tell others to do the same. Knowledge is power……”
This post was put up by the 50/50 community on Facebook this morning. I whole heartedly agree with it and strongly believe that knowledge is indeed power, but I’d like to share a little story with you.At our office we have a sweet lady who is in charge of our kitchen and the cleaning of the offices. I was in the kitchen with her the other day and she had put the tap on and was letting it run over a cloth to wet it. She then stepped away from the sink and went to do something else in the kitchen, but left the tap running. I, naturally, was not entirely happy about it, so I asked her to please turn the tap off. I proceeded to ask her if she knew that water was so precious and that we shouldn’t waste it. She told me that yes, she knows very well about how important water is and that she’s sorry she left the tap on – her mind had wandered. We chatted a little more about it, discussing how little water there really is in South Africa and that we shouldn’t take it for granted etc. I was pretty certain that she understood and that our talk had just reinforced her knowledge. Unfortunately, just a few days later, I again noticed that she was wasting water while wiping the counters – tap turned on full-ball and running straight down the drain while she went back and forth between wiping the counter and rinsing out her cloth. So my question is this: how do you effectively communicate with those around you that have a lower level of education or those who, in some cases, have only just recently recieved running water in their homes and want to enjoy it or those who claim to understand the idea of saving water, but who don’t translate that into a behavoiur change? It’s a challenge I’m not sure how to handle. This women has 5 children and a close family she could pass this message onto if she really truly understood it, but I fear they will not learn that lesson from her. I have no idea how to approach her in a way that will make her fully understand and that will result in a behaviour change, because I don’t have a point of reference to understand where she is coming from (culturally or societally) or what her real thoughts about it are. I worry that until I understand what makes her tick, I doubt won’t be able to find a way to get the message through. It’s almost like Part 2 to the ‘teach a man to fish’ story – show me how to teach it! Anyone got any ideas?