Water changes everything because it’s connected to everything. When it’s dirty; life or death hangs in the balance. The impact dirty water has on families, particularly women and children in sub-Saharan Africa, is devastating. About every 19 seconds, a mother loses one of her children to a water-related illness and almost one billion people on the planet live this way.* Now consider that there are 7 billion people on the planet. That’s 1/7th of all of humankind living without clean water.
It doesn’t surprise me in the least that I’ve got nothing but time for an organization willing to take these stats on which is why I’ve fallen head-over-heels in love with charity: water and its new campaign, WaterForward.
Over the last five years, charity: water has raised over $40 million dollars and funded 4, 282 water projects using 100% of all public donations. Its latest campaign, WaterForward, is based on the pay-it-forward concept. With pay-it-forward, when someone pays you a good deed, rather than repay that good deed to the same person, you pass a kindness on to someone new. Ideally the original kindness is reciprocated and eventually spreads out. WaterForward has taken this concept and applied it to Twitter and Facebook communities.
I first discovered the WaterForward campaign when my good friend, Mark, donated $10 in my name and placed me in the digital WaterForward book. Not only did I receive an email telling me about Mark’s kind act, my Facebook wall was updated with the action. That’s because Mark made the connection through Facebook. Anytime I want, I can go browsing through the digital WaterForward book and find my picture on page 34. You can’t put yourself into the book. To make it in, someone else needs to make a donation of $10 in your name. Since my photo first appeared, I’ve donated to the cause by selecting some of my Facebook friends who are now featured on page 38. The donation process was a breeze and I love how easy it was for me to choose and search among my Facebook friends. I can continue to check in and watch how my connections spread from Mark to me to my friends and the people they choose to sponsor in the book.
What’s particularly remarkable about the WaterForward campaign is how it’s combined online action with real world results. Everyone who is on the receiving end of a WaterForward donation is acknowledged in the digital book. Their profile photo from Facebook or avatar from Twitter is featured in the book that, when full, will be printed and placed in places like the Library of Congress. Meantime there’s no end to how many WaterForward books can be filled and published. Although, I have to admit, there’s something special about making it into volume one.
WaterForward has not only inspired me to give to a cause, it gave me the opportunity to connect one good deed to my friends and family in a very public way.
I hope the friends I’ve put into the book will pay-it-forward and provide clean drinking water to someone on the planet who so desperately needs it. Water does, indeed, change everything. Let’s change water and make it clean, again, for the one billion people living without it.
*Data courtesy charity: water
[vimeo video_id=”27156648″ width=”400″ height=”300″ title=”Yes” byline=”Yes” portrait=”Yes” autoplay=”No” loop=”No” color=”00adef”]