Water. The essence of life. Here in the United States, we often take this precious element for granted. According to the European Parliament, one out of six people go without clean drinking water everyday. Charity: Water founder, Scott Harrison, was someone who use to take water for granted, that is, until a humbling volunteer experience in Liberia changed his life forever. Harrison returned to the States with one goal in mind… to provide clean drinking water for the world.
The Dawn of a the Charity: Water Era
The organization funds different projects depending on the land terrain and population. Various projects include drilling wells into aquifers, building rainwater catchments, spring protections, biosand filters, piped systems and latrines. The people working in the field are able to build devices, systems and holding tanks that have the ability to give potable water for developing nations. Charity:Water, with the help of Google, is working to develop remote sensor technology. The sensors have the ability to inform the organization of the amount of water that is flowing through their water points at any given time. With the help of this equipment, Charity: Water members can determine which points need maintenance.
Their latest project, Pipeline, provides a “system of local leaders, innovative technology and trained mechanics” for past Charity: Water projects. The organization recruits villagers, local mechanics in the immediate area, and trains them with the corresponding equipment. Teams in specified locations will manage about 50-100 water points.
With donations, foundations, corporations and special events, Charity:Water funds these water point projects in 22 countries overseas. In total, more than $93 million has been raised and about 8,208 projects have been funded. As a result, more than 3,223,000 people now have clean drinking water.
Raising Awareness Through Visual Storytelling
Charity: Water also works towards providing information in order to raise awareness. As a company, it encourages other people to become informants of the arising global crisis.
Some people have a lack of trust in charities due to a low level of knowledge around where their donations are going. In a 2012 interview with New York Times blogger Nick Bilton, Harrison stated, “Simplicity is key… Show. Don’t tell. And do it visually. Use the Web to tell people where their money has gone and let them see what it has done.”
The UN recently reported that the demands for fresh water have become a global crisis. According to Charity: Water, unsafe water leads to diseases and lack of sanitation. Children with developing immune systems are especially vulnerable. Aside from increased susceptibility, women and children spend most of their time collecting water by walking miles and hours towards an unsanitary water source.
Ways to Get Involved
Awareness is growing in our country but not quickly enough. With higher levels of knowledge of global issues, people in the US can become informed and may be encouraged to take action. We can be the change needed in the world. Here are a few simple steps to get started:
- Become informed. This is easy to do with a special resource called the Internet. Most of us have access to a browser and WiFi; we are able to research news informing the public on international crises. You are already one step closer by reading this article.
- Spread the word. As an informed citizen, you can spread the message yourself. Word-of-mouth tends to be the most effective way of informing others. By sharing this information with your friends and encouraging them to share it as well, we can create a ripple effect for community involvement.
- Donate to charities. This method is simple and quick. Through Charity: Water’s website, a few clicks can help towards the organization’s goal of providing potable water. Donate here: https://www.charitywater.org/donate/
- Join a charity. Charity: Water enabled a special program called Birthdays. The Birthday Project gives people the chance to host fundraisers of their own in order to raise money for projects. You can start one through this link: http://www.charitywater.org/birthdays/
- Start a charity of your own. This is often the most difficult become it requires more than simple facts and money. You need motivation, determination and passion. You will work tirelessly motivating other people, but in the end, the reward of helping others is worth it.
Saving the world may seem like a huge and impossible task. There are people everywhere who require help in different ways. Scott Harrison was just one person. He started Charity:Water as a mission to provide the world with clean drinking water and to this day, continues to improve the quality of life for impoverished countries.
What is your passion and how does it help contribute to a better world?