Lifetime Stories: Danielle Morley – Founder, Freshwater Action Network

Danielle Morley (1987) has never been one to tread the usual path, even
since her days at Withington where she admits she was “a little bit of a
rebel, or I like to think I was”. Today, as the Founder of a global and
internationally-renowned NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation),
Freshwater Action Network, Danielle reflects that she still applies the
Withington values and principles that were instilled in her from a young
age to her work now.

Danielle was at Withington for “the long haul”,
from 7 to 18. She was somewhat a pioneer at the time, being one of the
only pupils from Withington to take a gap year. After spending the year
travelling, Danielle read Law at the University of Sheffield before
practising as a solicitor for a few years. However, after volunteering
in an orphanage and psychiatric hospital in post-communist Romania, she
soon realised that the Law was not exclusively where she wanted to
pursue her career, so she returned to England to complete a Master’s
degree in Global Environmental Change. In 2000, Danielle found her way
into international development working for Water Aid, and two years
later went on to found Freshwater Action Network, which today works in
partnership with Water Aid. Freshwater Action Network is an independent
charity that works with a global network of NGOs collectively together
to influence water policy and to secure vital safe water and sanitation
for people in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Freshwater Action
Network has been very effective, with its political lobbying being
responsible for the recognition at the UN Human Rights Council and
General Assembly in 2010 for the human right to water and sanitation. On
a personal level, Danielle is frequently asked to represent the voice
of NGOs and civil society in global forums: “Recently I was invited by
the German Government to participate in a high level panel on the human
right to water and sanitation but in the context of food, water and
energy security.”

Speaking of her work, Danielle says it is “very
satisfying; to know that in some way I’m contributing towards the
progression of society. And the people that I work with from all around
the world are great; all are really committed to the cause and very
inspiring people.”