Charity: Water – Live-Saving Water*

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Loïc introduced Scott Harrison, and showed his enthusiasm for the person, his journey and his passion.

Scott Harrison is the founder of Charity: Water, an NGO devoted to providing drinking water for those who do not have it. The project began in Liberia, and now has international ambitions.

However, let’s look back at Scott’s own journey first of all, which he was kind enough to share with us. His childhood was marked by his mother’s disability, after she was accidentally exposed to carbon monoxide. This undoubtedly had a profound effect on him and is the reason for his attentiveness and care for those around him and other people in general. All the same, he talks of an even darker period when he lived and worked at night, and turned to drink and drugs, playing out a “selfish and decadent” existence. Then about 10 years ago, Scott had a “sort of” awakening and became a volunteer on board a floating hospital belonging to the Mercy Ships fleet, a humanitarian organization that offers free medical treatment to people living in the world’s poorest countries.

In Africa, he became aware of the ubiquitous poverty, and in Liberia, whilst working in a leper village, he realized the urgency of the situation. Thanks to his diligence and hard work, he was able to play a part in “giving a face to 1.2 billion people” and put the scourge of unsafe drinking water into words.

In light of what he had seen, in 2006 he created Charity: Water, which uses public donations to finance his water treatment projects in Africa.

The fundamental principles are as follows:

i)               100% of donations go directly towards financing projects on the ground. The coverage of operating costs is managed separately, and credit card charges are also systematically repaid.

ii)              Complete transparency exists with regard to how these donations are used, and the Internet is the “ideal medium for this purpose.” The dedicated page can be viewed here

iii)             A marketing approach with extensive branding and a polished design: “In order to solve a problem as large as the worldwide water crisis, we need a brand that inspires hope and responsibility”

Charity: Water is best known for its high-impact campaigns, such as this one:

or this one:

Besides, the most meaningful idea is surely to make a donation equal to your age when your birthday comes around each year. Imagine what would happen if, rather than asking for a present, everyone asked for a donation to be made to Charity: Water for the amount equivalent to their age, thus making every single person an ambassador for the project. That was Rachel Beckwith’s wish, whose tragic story is outlined below:

After Rachel’s death, thousands of people around the world started to make donations, and the amount donated stands at USD 1.2 million thus far.

800 million people on Earth do not have access to drinking water, and it’s high time we took action on this… and help Scott to achieve his dream: “Before I leave this world, I would like to put an end to this crisis, and for every person on Earth to have access to drinking water.”

*I was invited to attend LeWeb12 by Orange Group to join their Social Media Team. Read more about these 3 days reports from the team at Live Orange Blog.

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