Posts Tagged ‘drinking water’

Crazy, Daring Travel That Saves the World

This adrenaline pumping experience is one of those where you get to cross something off your bucket list and make a real difference in the world at the same time. February 22-March 5, 2013, the very first descent of Mount Kilimanjaro by mountain bike will be permitted for 20 lucky cyclist/philanthropists (Cylanthropists?). Trek Travel and World Serve have teamed up to provide this awareness-raising and fund-raising excursion, sponsoring one the globe’s most ambitious environmental cleanup efforts and also funding a project to bring clean water to 150,000 Tanzanians.

Hike up, ride screaming down, visit a Maasai village and water drilling site, hot air balloon over the Serengeti, and more. It’s a hefty price tag, but about 90% of the fees go to the project, including solar-powered pumps, the Kilimanjaro trash pickup project (also hiring local porters and providing some employment), bore hole projects, and more.

How cool is that? Kili and transformational travel giving…I’ll meet you there!

Hippo Roller Eases the Burden of Fetching Water

I learned about this ingenious invention while at Phinda Rock Lodge in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. Phinda is run by &Beyond, a luxury safari/vacation company that has always distinguished itself by it’s huge commitment to local communities. The &Beyond guest experience is top-of-the-line luxury, and the give-back relationship with the communities where the lodges reside are inspiring. There are so many projects steered by &Beyond that are dedicated to conservation, education, medical care, cultural preservation, employment, housing, and more. One of the “Ah Ha” projects for me, is the Hippo Roller that the &Beyond folks give to the communities.

You probably already know that fetching potable water can be a daily job that takes hours away from the day of a child or woman–certainly it’s a job prioritized over school or work for economic stability for the family–and it is a job that never ends. If a kid has to walk an hour or two, one way, to a water source, with a gallon plastic jug in each hand, or maybe a five-gallon pickle bucket to drag or balance on top of his or her head for the walk back…that is a morning gone, and perhaps again in the evening. The Hippo Roller is a sturdy, plastic, 24-gallon water barrel with a secure sealing lid and an aluminum handle like a lawnmower that attaches to the sides of the barrel when it is laid on its side. Pushing or pulling the rolling barrel is easier, faster, and increases the amount of water fetched by 4 or 5 times. If a child only has to make a water run once a day, or once every other day, and the family has more than enough water at the home…that child can go to school, or that mother can care more directly for the children or create products for sale for economic stability or otherwise free up valuable time. This simple invention opens up health (sanitation and hydration with enough water), education, and economic health for entire communities.

32,000 rollers have been distributed by NGOs and company partners, like &Beyond, to communities so far, each of them made in South Africa. Hundreds of thousands of people are being helped by a big plastic barrel.

So easy. So intuitive.

Save the Rain

It’s a gray, rainy, drippy day here in the Northeast. The sound of water hitting the leaves is everywhere around me. How blessed am I that each drop that falls on the lawn already losing its green hue from summer is not a drop I need to survive?

Save the Rain is a charity dedicated to teaching water-starved communities around the world how to build rainwater catchment systems that will provide sustainable and safe drinking water–a luxury not known by billions of people right now. When the water issue is handled in a life, so much more falls into place. Nutritious food, even if scarce, serves the body better. Education is increased and learning capacity grows. Disease rates fall dramatically. Just the hours spent by women and children each day to walk, often miles, to a muddy, perhaps contaminated, dirty watering hole for filthy water we’d shudder to use to water our houseplants, are hours that can be reclaimed for education and work and making the family healthier and happier. When water is available, so much more opens up. Can you support making sure everyone has enough? The cost is small, and the return is unfathomable.

Operation WELL Worth It

The lives of 3,000 people in the village of Angiro, Kenya will have their lives changed…by water. The young girls there currently walk 8 miles round trip to a muddy water hole to get one bucket of water for their family to use. Water fetching takes priority over all else, including school, so education is faltering and failing these young women. They are not failing–the circumstances of life in Angiro fail them.

The young woman in this video, Anne Okelo, has big plans once the water crisis is managed for her and her neighbors: she hopes to go on to develop an orphanage and a hospital for her community.

Find out more and support Operation Well Worth It.

Giving Up Birthdays: Alyssa Milano

Actress Alyssa Milano has written an article in the Huffington Post pledging her commitment to charity and planning to,  instead of receive, give a gift to people everywhere. Milano says:

“As a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and the founding ambassador for the Global Network, I’ve traveled to the field and seen firsthand the devastation left behind by waterborne illnesses,” wrote the actress. “On these trips, I’ve run the gamut of emotions that range from mind-bending anger to heart-warming hope. Upon my return from the field, I count my blessings, and then as time passes, I become frustrated with myself that I’m not doing more to alleviate the pain of those I met on my journey.

“It is because of this very frustration that I decided to give up my birthday. I have everything I could ever want or need. All I want is to provide life-giving water for 10 communities, 500 families and 2,500 people. This is my Birthday wish. In lieu of spending money on a party or presents, I’m asking people to donate to my charity:water campaign and help make my wish come true.”

Milnao is aiming to raise $50,000 for the charity. Charity:Water was established by Scott Harrison, a Manhattan party promoter, in 2006. While on a freelance photography trip in Africa, Harrison was shocked to see victims of contaminated water suffering long and painful deaths. He set up the charity to stimulate greater global awareness about extreme poverty, educating the public, and provoking compassionate and intelligent giving.

“Currently, almost a billion people in the world don’t have access to life’s most basic need: clean and safe drinking water,” wrote Milano. “That’s 1 in 8 people on the planet. Over 200 million people right now have a water-related disease called schistosomiasis… It’s a fancy word for parasites. Worms. When you see a heartbreaking photo of a malnourished child with an extended belly, that child most likely has this waterborne schistosomiasis and no matter what food or nutrients you give them, without proper medication and clean water they most likely will not survive.

“I believe it is innately within us, as warriors of the human spirit, to give to those less fortunate. Sometimes, we just don’t know how to go about doing it. If this rings true for you, I encourage you to watch the below video, be inspired, and join me by starting your own holiday campaign today at

To donate to Alyssa’s campaign, click here. Her full article can be read in the Huffington Post here.

World Flix

Everybody loves their alma mater, and I have a stronger than average adoration for UC Santa Cruz, so I have a little extra bump of pride for a fellow alumna who is dedicated to changing the world, even though I’ve never met her. Laika Grant Mann has created, a new way to connect philanthropic donors with the communities they help around the world.

World Flix is an Internet-based non-profit with online video portals into communities at need. The library of mini-movies includes interviews with project recipients so donors across the world can see where their money goes, whether the need addressed is for clean drinking water, sustainable food sources, sanitation and safety, health care, or other ways to help. You can click over and see a short video about a Ugandan hospital’s need for mosquito nets, a Haitian community clean water project, Tibetan vision and eye-care centers, and more as projects partner up. 100% of the donations made through World Flix go to the recipient projects while grant money covers overhead. It creates a really lovely, easy connection much more so than a letter in the mail asking for donations and the impersonal process of sending a check to a faceless mailbox.

Connection = care. A great way to inspire giving.

As the website says, “See the Change You Wish to Make in the World


Matt Damon is All Wet

RTS_imageI’ve had this DVD for a while and have been meaning to watch it, but didn’t get to it until today on the airplane. Running the Sahara is a terrific documentary, produced and narrated by Matt Damon, about three friends who run, without a day off, for 111 days across the entire Sahara Desert, covering the equivalent of more than a marathon, sometimes MUCH more than a marathon’s distance, each day. Crossing the continent of Africa on foot is a huge undertaking and takes a huge toll. It is a great film filled with outstanding imagery and an inspiring tone about believing you can do what ought to be impossible. I really recommend it.

The three runners (not all elite athletes, by the way) then created, a clean water initiative, also co-sponsored by Matt Damon (he’s the water guy), to create global awareness of the water crisis in Africa and practical support for projects getting clean water to change lives and health for thousands up0n thousands.

Damon’s aqua-efforts are widespread. Here is a video from the One Foundation where he thanks One Members (you are one of them, aren’t you? Click the link above and Look into it) while he is in India working on projects, with your support, that will bring water to millions of people.

We think we know drought…and we surely do in many places where we live and work, but few of us ever have, nor even know someone who has died from dehydration—yet it happens all the time.

You can help water, quite literally, save lives.