Corinne Bailey Rae Pumps Water For Life

By Karen Bliss 12/2/09 |

Corinne Bailey Rae
British singer Corinne Bailey Rae — photo credit: Tierney Gearon
British jazzy-soul singer Corinne Bailey Rae first became associated with water sanitization organization Pump Aid during the cycle for her 2006 self-titled debut, which went on to sell four million copies worldwide. She had the opportunity to go to Malawi to see the “pioneering” work this African-led charity does.

“It was started 20 years ago in Zimbabwe by these teachers and it provides clean water for people in developing countries,” Rae tells “They’ve put in these wells in Zimbabwe for, they said, a million people, and they’ve  moved out to Malawi.

“I went to Malawi about two years ago to see the work they’re doing and it’s really incredible. It’s pioneering because the people from the village construct wells and learn how to fix them and they use materials that are available in the village,” she enthuses. “So you don’t have to send off for any parts or anything.”

She says they also teach former child soldiers these trade skills so they can get rehabilitated back into society.

Rae recently came to North America to perform a series of intimate club shows in advance of her new album, The Sea, due out January 26, and donated a portion of the ticket sales to Pump Aid.  She hopes to do that with her full-fledged tour that will take her all over the world next year.

“Yeah, I’d like to,” says Rae. “These first few shows are what have been negotiated first.”

More than one billion people do not have access to clean water. Pump Aid’s tag line is “water for life.” On its web site,, there is a statistic on the top of the home page that reads: “Over 5000 children die every day as a result of unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation.”

Pump Aid works predominantly in Malawai and Zimbabwe, but has a pilot program in Liberia and plans to expand to other neighbouring countries.

“Pump Aid works to combat the global water crisis with the help of our innovative, cost effective and community-centred technology,” it states on the web site. “We establish sustainable supplies of clean water and safer sanitation provisions. Our work improves health and supports the local agriculture and economies.”

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* is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.