.......Initiated by :

.....Addressed to all :


Letter to inspectors and teachers
of religious education

A campaign to build awareness about water – its symbolic value and careful use

Who are we?
In the presence of HRH Princess Mathilde of Belgium, the Belgian Council of Religious Leaders (BCRL) was formally launched in the Belgian Federal Parliament on Thursday 17 December 2009. These leaders of major religions in Belgium signed the founding document of the council and expressed commitment to continue to strengthen interreligious relations in the country. Different faith - common action!

Why is water important ?
Water has a very strong symbolic value in all religions and plays a role in their philosophies and practices. Insufficient access to water leads to deficiencies which manifest in different ways (e.g. economical, social, etc) and which the individual experiences in terms of lower quality of life and a daily burden which is heavy to bear.
Almost fifty per cent of the developing world’s population – 2.5 billion people – lack improved sanitation facilities, and over 884 million people still use unsafe drinking water sources, according to UNICEF. Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services, coupled with poor hygiene practices, kills and sickens thousands of children every day, and leads to impoverishment and diminished opportunities for thousands more.
Poor sanitation, water and hygiene have many other serious repercussions. Children – and particularly girls – are denied their right to education because their schools lack private and decent sanitation facilities. Women are forced to spend large parts of their day fetching water. Poor farmers and wage earners are less productive due to illness, health systems are overwhelmed and national economies suffer.
Europe currently benefits from a privileged situation regarding water resources and has made important progress concerning water management, infrastructure, technologies and legislation over the past decades. Maintaining these systems require huge financial and technological resources which continues to be a challenge.

Our goals
The privileged situation regarding water in Europe is usually taken for granted in the larger society and awareness about the importance of water is lacking. A change in behavior towards water consumption and understanding the difficulties when safe water is lacking, is needed. From our own religious traditions or convictions, the BCRL wants to involve young people in raising this awareness about water consumption as well as encouraging greater solidarity with people who have poor access to water in Africa and other parts of the world (where water is the blue Gold), appealing for a policy of responsible water management.

Methodology :
The campaign to raise awareness promotes different forms of expression with an emphasis on verbal expression. It makes for building of bridges and establishing closer cooperation between the different spiritualities and philosophies.
a) The campaign is organised by the network of Religious Education Teachers – who may be joined by other teachers
b) The campaign is an appeal to young people at primary and secondary level as responsible partners and privileged people in support of a healthy management of water for the benefit of all. Our challenge goes out to young people aged between 5 and 18

The action will have four main elements:
1) probing the symbolic value of water in our own religious traditions with reference to basic texts of scripture
2) prompting young people to explore different modes of expression, according to age groups, culminating in the organisation of a series of competitions
3) staging an a ademic event on 20 September 2012 in the federal parliament fof Belgium, in the context of the World Peace Day,wih prizes to the winnars in the presence of political and religious authorities, religious leaders, women, teachers, young people, associations, citizens).
4) giving tools, platforms and visibility to young people of faith

Our challenge goes out to young people aged between 5 and 18

Please please please
launch a heartfelt appeal to save life … to save human dignity

a right and a responsibility
protecting it – saving it – sharing it

You make the appeal and we guarantee to relay it !

General conditions of the competition
• different modes of expression according to age group
infant and primary – 1st cycle (5-8 years): drawings
primary – 2nd cycle (8-10 years): model based on a 1litre bottle of water
primary – 3rd cycle (10-12 years): poetry, slogans
secondary – 1st cycle (12-14 years): photos
secondary – 2nd cycle (14-16 years):slide show (12 slides)
secondary – 3rd cycle (16-18): musical composition (3-5 mins on CD)

• entries can be individual or group. All entries must give:
- name of school,
- surname and first name of entrant, age
- religious studies class attended, teacher’s name and his/her GSM and email

Drawings, texts and photos should give this information on the back; slide shows should give it on the first slide.

Musical compositions must indicate name of artist(s), name of piece, length of piece, name of composer.

• closing date for entries: Sunday, 31 August 2012
• address where entries should be sent: Institut Européen de recherche pour la politique de l’eau (IERPE) Rue de la Poudrière, 64, 1070 Bruxelles, 9h à 17h, téléphoner avant à Emmanuel Petrella : 02 502 59 82
• juries will consist of artists, young people and members of the organising committee
• prizewinners will be announced on 1st February at a major public event
• an exhibition of all works will be staged and be available to view until …
• a virtual exhibition of all works will be visible on the website
with references to texts from scripture compiled by teachers of religion, links …

Organising Committee
Semsettin Ugurlu: Muslim community
Frank De Waele: Buddhist community
Malita Dasi: Hindu community
Father Evangelos Psallas: Orthodox community
Robert Innes : Anglican community
Bra’ha Manelewitsch : Jewish community
Lucienne Coulon: Protestant community
Yolande Iliano : Catholic community

Lucienne Coulon: 0495 51 47 93

Proposal for starting to think about the issue of water

Phase 1 : (3 min)
A group of young people is sitting in a circle - in silence.
The facilitator gives a glass of water to each participant - with different amounts of water in each glass
One will be given a glass full of water, another's will be one-third full, another will only have a few drops or even an empty glass

Phase 2: (3 min)
Silence and reflection
Note: background music can facilitate reflection

Phase 3: (3 min)
The young people can do what they choose - move around, speak to one another

Phase 4: (1 min)
They return to their places in silence

.Phase 5: (10 min).
The young people are invited to share their impressions of what they have just experienced