A knitted petition, or knitition, created by supporters of WaterAid has helped the development charity reach thousands of new supporters. The Knitted River petition consists of individually knitted blue squares made by WaterAid campaigners from around the world, and was intended to raise awareness of the predicament of people who lack sanitation or safe drinking water.
"We were thinking of ways to engage supporters when a volunteer who liked knitting suggested getting people to knit a square each," explains Jennean Alkadiri, campaign manager at WaterAid. "So we launched Knit a River as part of the End Water Poverty campaign last year. We expected a few thousand people to take part, but ended up getting nearly 100,000."
Supporters took the completed knitted river to Downing Street. It has since been on a year-long tour that has taken in the Glastonbury music festival and the German embassy in London.
Alkadiri feels that it is the originality of the campaign that helped capture people's imagination. She says: "People get tired of signing traditional petitions, but the knitted river made supporters feel like they were helping to create something. It also helped us to reach a new audience that we have not targeted before, such as Women's Institute members."
WaterAid is keeping a section of the river for future events, but the rest is being dismantled to make blankets that will be given to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and homelessness charities.