Oxfam is launching a new fundraising appeal designed to raise awareness of the dangers faced by people in developing countries who are at risk of arsenic poisoning from water contamination.

"Initially this message is very shocking as arsenic only conjures up one image,

said Andrea Andrews at Oxfam.

"However, what I think people will respond to is how we are working with local communities to overcome the problem. It is this long-term aspect of Oxfam's work that motivates so many of our donors."

The pack encourages supporters to give a small amount to help Oxfam carry out work such as training villagers to dig new water wells, and train doctors and villagers to recognise the symptoms of arsenic poisoning in time to save lives.

Designed by ad agency WWAV Rapp Collins, the pack is one of the regular cash appeals that the charity sends out to its supporter base. Although any funds raised by the appeal will not necessarily go straight to Oxfam's water contamination projects, Andrews said that the message summed up how donations can help make a real difference.

"What we want is to show the 'human' side of our work and how it affects individuals' lives,

she said. "The creative tells stories of real people and how their lives are affected by the threat of arsenic poisoning."

The pack will be sent out to 60,000 existing donors asking for a cash gift of £10 or more. Oxfam hopes to raise more than £100,000 from the campaign.


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