You’ve heard of a flash mob, but what about a flash cob? This morning 3 giant corn on the cobs took to the street armed with their watering cans to demand fair access to water for poor people in the developing world. 

Mariá Yolanda Rojas Ávila grows maize in Peru.  She says “To me, water means life. Without water, people, animals and crops cannot live. I hope for a good future for my three children, in a healthy environment. I hope we will have enough water in the future.”

A third of the world's population relies on small scale agriculture, either by growing their own food to eat and sell for their livelihoods or by purchasing it. But while there is enough water on the planet to go around, many people can’t get access to it and are at risk from increasing water scarcity. 

Not having enough water for watering crops means there’s less to sell at market. The knock-on effect is that poor people get poorer. Some places are quite simply very dry, but, more often than not, the reason people cannot get access to water is that the water resources available to them are mismanaged or too expensive.  

Progressio campaigners are trying to change that. In the lead up to the Rio+20 ‘Earth Summit’ in June 2012 campaigners are urging Secretary of State Caroline Spelman to ensure that poor people have fair and sustainable access to water for their livelihoods. 

Maria Yolanda relies on an affordable and accessible water supply to feed her family.  Her message to world leaders is clear. “They should listen to all the poor people in the world and not ignore us, because everybody should have the same opportunity to have a good and decent life.”

You can add your voice in support of Maria Yolanda and billions like her by simply texting ‘WATER’ to 87070 (standard rates apply) or go online at

Photo: Danny Curtin/Progressio