Yakkers Corner: Muriel chats with Martin Beyer, Former Head of the Water and Sanitation Programme, UNICEF PART 1
“In view of all the ambitious plans and goals for improving the lot of humankind, Martin loves to apply the Swedish adage about the farmer, who one night takes his son out in the open, pointing to the sky, and saying: “Aim at the stars, my son! It can at least bring you up on the roof of the cowshed…”
Martin Beyer is a geologist from Sweden, who spent the first half of his professional life with prospecting for minerals, including six years in Liberia, mapping iron ores. The second half he worked with UNICEF, United Nations Childrens Fund. Largest part of twenty years he was responsible for helping to establish and coordinating a worldwide network of programmes and specialists in order to bring safe water and sanitation to children, mothers and their communities in many of the poorest areas of over a hundred countries.
In all of this, UNICEF came to cooperate closely with the governments, other international agencies, and hundreds of non-government organizations, as well as – eventually – millions of members of individual communities for the mundane but vital commodity of fresh water, along with other improvements in child hygiene and health through latrines, health education and – most importantly – the involvement of everybody in villages and underprivileged urban areas.
There are many benefits, highlighted in the present interview, – in some areas of the world – along with unforeseen challenges, experiences which by and large now are used to make all participants’ work more efficient. Through this interview, Martin gives our listeners across the globe some insights into the attempts to solve some of the problems of growth in a rapidly changing world.
Martin lives in an old meteorite crater in Quebec, where he is writing his “speckled” memoirs for his grandchildren, dabbles in painting, watercolour and oil, likes cooking and sailing, and loves talking with friends in any of a dozen languages, even if he regrets that his Arabic and Chinese not are what he would like them to be.
With that word of wisdom, I bid thee a happy day, not only today but for all days there are. As we say in China, Dzai dzhien!
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