“Humor is a rubber sword – it allows you to make a point without drawing blood,” the humorist Mary Hirsch once said.
With its new calendar delivering a daily dose of satire throughout 2018, the World Bank hopes humor can also be a borehole enabling access to clean water for billions of people around the world.
To puncture complacency about water and sanitation — two issues often regarded as “dry” and overshadowed in the nonstop news cycle — the World Bank enlisted four renowned artists from Peru, India, Kazakhstan, and Indonesia to design their World Bank Water Cartoon Calendar.
Each of the calendar’s cartoons confronts an issue related to water and sanitation, like the unfair treatment of women tasked with collecting water and the scarcity of handwashing supplies, which leads to deadly disease. The organization provides free, high-resolution downloadable calendar pages on its website which you can print and hang on your dorm wall, fridge, or cubicle.
May’s panel depicts a corporate meeting where four well-dressed men discuss a water project. “The women are fully involved in this project too!” one of the men remarks.
Behind him, two women perform manual labor and another carries a pot of tea, emphasizing the vastly disproportionate role women play in collecting and carrying water for their families and communities.
A few pages later, the October cartoon intends to encourage hand-washing to prevent diarrheal diseases, which, the World Bank reports, “kill one child every minute.”
In the panel, a woman encourages a young boy standing near a water pump to wash his hands.
“Again?? But I washed them only two days ago,” he responds.