Our work overseas

Kane Williamson goes to bat for clean water and soap

"We can make a huge difference to people's lives by giving them access clean water and soap."

New Zealand Cricket captain Kane Williamson joins Henry Nicholls, Sophie Devine and Dan Carter to support UNICEF NZ’s latest appeal for something we all take for granted – soap and clean water.

It’s been amazing to see New Zealand work together to tackle coronavirus. I think it’s something that we all feel connected by and are proud of.

While there may be challenges ahead still, New Zealand seems to have made great progress. Sadly, this isn’t the case when you look abroad, with many countries still in the midst of the virus and lacking basic needs like soap and water.

One of the best things cricket has given me is a chance to build friendships with people from different parts of the world. I’ve stayed in touch with quite a few cricketers during the pandemic and the conversation often turns to what the latest coronavirus situation, news or statistics are in our own regions.

I recently had a long chat on Zoom with Tamim Iqbal, the captain of the Bangladesh one day team. It was clear how tough things are in his country. With such a dense population Bangladesh is severely struggling to meet the basic hygiene measures that would help keep the virus at bay.

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Conditions in Bangladesh are harsh. I won’t forget the heat and humidity I experienced playing a five-day Test match in my first trip to Bangladesh, nor the cramp that came with it. It was a small reminder of the importance to be vigilant at staying hydrated. Worryingly, not everyone has that opportunity.

For the last five or six years I’ve been lucky enough to play alongside Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan in the Indian Premier League and they’ve told me how scarce clean water can be in parts of Afghanistan because of ongoing conflict. There are many other regions around the world that face the same challenges.

To know that such a large number of people don't have access to soap and water to protect themselves is tough. Hygiene is always important, but now more so than ever. We’ve seen how we can all have an impact on reducing the impact this global virus, and the importance of supporting one another where we can.

We are all connected, and all have the same requirements when it comes to basic hygiene. Our support can make a huge difference to people's lives if we are able to help them access clean water and soap.

Donate via Unicef here to help deliver more medical and hygiene supplies and protect children against Covid-19.