Fiona Jeffery OBE Founder and Chair of Just a Drop international water, sanitation and hygiene development charity has spent her working life in the travel and exhibition/events industries as well as working for UN World Ethics Committee for Tourism and is a pioneer of environmental and social responsibility. She reflects on the world today and what the future can hold with Mindful Living.

Our world has stopped. It has been turned upside down in a way none of us could have imagined. My own industry sectors travel and events have been decimated and my charity world with Just a Drop (@Just_a_Drop) is working in overdrive but with fewer resources. 

In spite of all this I am trying to find some positives from our world today and how they will shape our world for tomorrow. The lockdown gives us a chance to re-calibrate and re-connect in new and different ways, but ways that help us all and the planet. We suddenly understand our vulnerability much more and our own responsibility for our personal health and wellness. The importance of healthy eating and strong immune systems. We have to avoid the doctor’s surgery and we don’t want to end up in hospital so we’re taking more personal responsibility, not leaving it to others. Apply the same principles when this is over and hopefully the demands on the NHS will dramatically reduce, not simply because we are safer against Covid-19 but because as citizens we’ve learnt to look after ourselves better and don’t clog up the system or strain its finances, enabling it to prioritise the genuinely vulnerable be they young, very sick or elderly. My parents spent their lives working in the NHS and I saw how it gets abused because its free, so I really hope our attitude towards it, and expectations of it, improve.


We can now hear the birds, the air is cleaner, wildlife is taking over new spaces, mother nature is able to do its healing, having arguably been overwhelmed by an overused, abused, and taken for granted planet. I hope this awakens a greater collective consciousness of the value of the world around us and how important a part we all play in preserving this world for future generations. How will this impact our daily life choices in the food we eat, where it comes from; will councils expand allotment schemes; will supermarkets purchase more locally? Will we become more responsible travellers? How will we travel to work safely and efficiently, and where will we choose to travel on holiday, conscious of our carbon footprint? Will it encourage greater investment in renewable energies like wind and solar and in rainwater harvesting?

And then there’s the importance of community. This pandemic whilst isolating us all has made us more locally collaborative. We are more orientated to our neighbourhoods and we are rediscovering our own back yard and all it has to offer. We are aware of our neighbours and our responsibility and desire to look after them. Some great local initiatives for food distribution like have opened up, helping those in need and we are keen to be neighbourly and supportive. It gives us a sense of purpose at a difficult time.


Which brings me to my final point. Caring for others. 

Part of mindful living is seeing beyond our own back yard and seeing how we can make a difference to others. Currently there is a sense of national responsibility for one’s own, and top of the tree is the NHS and key workers. I’d like to say a MASSIVE thank you to them all, and not just health and care home workers but the food outlet workers, bus drivers, other transport providers, refuse collectors, delivery men and women and essential services who just keep us all ticking over. Without them life would be a lot harder.


But wearing my Just a Drop hat, never has the work we do as an organisation been more important to poor vulnerable communities across the world. Unless we have a safe world after this pandemic, we aren’t all safe. Next time you wash your hands under a tap with soap spare a thought for the thousands of communities who don’t have access to safe running water and soap to wash their hands. We know the NHS is stretched and we are doing our bit to support them, but can you imagine a health centre in Uganda with maternity unit and operating theatre with no running water, sanitation or effective hygiene and PPE equipment dealing with Covid-19. Or having no water to enable you to grow local crops to feed your families when you can’t work and earn a living. That’s what Just a Drop is doing – supporting health centres, communities and schools across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

If you’d like to be mindful of others across the world please support and also have some fun along the way; consider taking part in our #JustaHaircut Challenge and #Twopointsixchallenge which is replacing the London marathon, or simply make a donation.

Thank you for reading this far. These are thoughtful as well challenging times and I do believe that Good can always come out of bad situations, but it’s down to each of us to be mindful of this and not forget the harsh lessons learnt during this painful journey.

Keep Smiling, Keep Safe and Keep Mindful.

With grateful thanks.