Decades devoted to providing the world's poor with clean drinking water

thisisoxfordshire: Jim Baldwin with villagers in India Jim Baldwin with villagers in India

CIVIL engineer Jim Baldwin has spent more than 40 years working around the world, from rural India to the slums of Kampala, Uganda, providing the poor with clean drinking water.

Now aged 71 and a grandfather-of-four, he has no plans to slow down.

Next month the Great Haseley resident will fly out to Zambia to use his technical skills to ensure poverty-stricken villagers have access to clean water.

Mr Baldwin, who lives with his wife Carol, said: “My wife would like me to pack it in and it does get more difficult, it is tough work.

“But the things I have learnt over 40 years give me a big advantage.

“Cultural change takes time. People don’t change because you tell them to, they change when they want to. It take a lot of time sitting down with communitites and listening to them.”

On a recent trip to Uganda, he saw first hand the deprivation in the slums of Kampala.

Mr Baldwin said: “It could be intimidating but I have seen it all before.

“I’m probably just as at home in those slums as I am in Great Haseley.”

As a civil engineer, Mr Baldwin started his career designing bridges and power stations.

In India he helped design and dig wells, and now, with Just a Drop, he oversees the people who carry out that work to make sure they are doing it to a high standard.

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For 10 years, from the late 1990s, he and his wife lived in India.

Mrs Baldwin used to run the ethnic craft shop Ikon, in Cowley Road, Oxford, but closed it to travel with her husband.

Next month Mr Baldwin will visit clean water projects in Livingstone and Ndola, Zambia.

He will measure the effect they have had on the lives of people who before had no access to safe, clean drinking water.

A father-of-three, he said none of his children are showing any inclination to follow in his footsteps.

He said: “Civil engineers are not well paid and not appreciated the way they should be.

“But the life you have is very interesting. We need to fly the flag about it.”

Just a Drop has delivered more than 130 projects in 31 countries, supporting approximately 1.5 million people since 1998.

The charity aims to address the statistic that a child dies every 20 seconds from a water-related disease.

  • To find out more, visit justadrop.org

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