Melanie Chisholm - formerly known as Sporty Spice is getting involved with the new P&G and Asda Clean Water campaign, helping to save lives by providing clean water to those who really need it.
We got the chance to chat to Melanie about the campaign, her recent trip to Ghana in Africa, any upcoming projects and those Spice Girls reunion rumours.
What can you tell us about the P&G and Asda Clean Water campaign, for those who may not have heard about it?
Well this campaign is something which is really simple to get involved with. Basically, buying P&G products from Asda, and they will donate a day's drinking water, and I know in my weekly shop I've got a load of P&G products - half of them you don't even realise - and it's just about having the choice of where you pick them up, and being able to do a little thing to make a big difference, and I know it's a huge difference because I was lucky enough to go to Ghana with the project, and I went along to a village which has had these water purification sachets for about three months, and they've really embraced the change and it's changed their lives. It's incredible.
The statistics are quite shocking - that over a billion people in the world don't have access to clean drinking water, and over 2,000 children are dying a day, because of illnesses brought about by this. So, it is something which is having great effect, and is relatively simple really, so I was drawn to this project because not only have I seen it in action and it's really effective, but we're not asking people to put their hand in their pocket for extra money, which you know, not many people and families can afford, but it's just about the choice of where you're buyin your weekly shop - it can help people who are in desperate need.
So how did you find that whole experience of visiting Ghana?
It was amazing actually. I've been lucky enough to travel to Africa before - I went to Zambia last year - and it was quite a different story when I was out there because I was visiting villages that had needed a lot of help with different things, but this was a very positive trip, because I was seeing how things were changing and how people's lives would change on a daily basis, simply through having clean drinking water. It's something that here in the UK, we take it for granted. We have our own problems, but clean drinking water is something we don't need to give too much thought about, and out there as a parent, like any parent your priority is to keep your child safe and healthy, and if you're providing water that makes them very ill, and even kills them in some circumstances, that's a very difficult position to be in as a parent. So, to see the transformation in these people's lives simply from these little sachets that they mix into the water and filter them, and really treat the water themselves to make it clean was brilliant.
Did you speak to anyone while there that told you how the living conditions had changed?
Yeah, speaking to the mums it was lovely, because I was really keen to know what change it had made to them and it was lovely because they became very animated, and it was such a relief to them to not have that worry anymore. It was a huge part of their day to be giving their children drinking water, it's a very hot climate, we all need water, it's one of the fundamental needs as a human being, but it's just that knowledge of not knowing whether the water was safe. Now it's had a knock-on effect where obviously so many less children are ill, so they're spending more time at school, and they're also at school because they're hydrated better and not poorly. The education's better, so it's something that has a positive effect on every aspect of life in the village which can only be a positive thing for the whole community.
How different would you say the culture is in Ghana to the one here in the UK?
Oh, to compare is pretty much impossible. My only experience of villages like this were the African villages I'd visited before. I went there with stuff I'd seen on TV. Appeal things whether it was to do with Comic Relief or different charities that go out there, so you know we're all very aware and have seen a lot of these images, but nothing can prepare you for actually seeing the poverty that people live in in the developing world - it is quite shocking - but there is always a real feel of hope, these people are very happy, and there are great charities everywhere. All of these places helping these communities help themselves really, so yeah it's a wonderful thing to do and I think over in our parts of the world, to just do our little bit is a real feelgood factor.
Away from the campaign, do you have any other projects going on right now?
Yeah, I'm gonna be touring with Jools Holland this year, and I'm also working on a new album.
Oh brilliant! When can we expect that, or is it still very much in the works?
Oh yeah absolutely, it's early days with the album but after working with Matt Cardle last year, it really inspired me to get working on my own music. I did a big show - it was my 40th birthday in January, and I got my band together and we did a big show at Shepherd's Bush Empire and it just makes me realise how much I miss working as a solo artist, so a couple of things have inspired me to get crack into it and write a new record.
You toured last year with Jesus Christ Superstar, how was that experience?
Yeah, it was amazing! It's such a great show and I've been so lucky to be involved from the beginning of the production really, on the TV show finding Jesus, and then taking it out on the road, it was really a spectacular production and it's a great show, and musically it's really rocky, it's great playing arenas - some of the venues I'd played with the Spice Girls before, so it was really good fun.
And I have to ask, have you now closed the door on the Spice Girls following The Olympics, or is that something that could come back?
You know, us girls are so proud of everything we achieved. You know there's been a lot of talk in the media recently about Victoria's reluctance to perform and we were very much aware of that before she'd spoken about it publicly, we completely respect that - she has found her passion which is fashion - not wanting to rhyme! (laughs) But, you know she excels at that, and we're incredibly proud of the achievements she's made, but you know, myself, Emma, Geri and the other Mel, we've not hung our boots up yet. We quite fancy maybe getting up, doing a bit of 'Wannabe'! So, maybe in the future there might be another opportunity to see the Spice Girls perform.
Tagged in Melanie C