There’s only a few weeks left for you to contribute to our Indiegogo campaign, and we need your help! Here’s a video from the members of our youth board telling you why you should get involved! Please help out in any way you can!
We will also be filming our We Are One Blog photo shoot taking place the coming Monday, which is one you won’t want to miss!
So stick with us, and tune in! We will be giving you something very special every Friday…
Take a look at this video to learn more about KAGENO, the Love+Water designs Featured Charity for November. Founder Dr. Frank Andolino talks about how he founded KAGENO and what the motivation is behind some of the projects they’re working on now. And please, submit some designs! We can’t wait to share more limited edition t-shirts and donate 50% of the profits to KAGENO…
Founder of KAGENO, Dr. Frank Andolino from Love+Water designs on Vimeo.
Miyoko Brunner- WITNESS is co-founded with Peter Gabriel. He went on tour with Amnesty International’s Human Rights Tour in 1988 and took the Sony 8mm Handycam with him. He filmed people he met all over the world, many of whom had suffered human rights abuses, and had them tell their stories. He found it so amazing that these people were experiencing these abuses and not only were they not being heard, but their stories were being denied. He realized that something as simple as a video camera could bring these stories to the eyes of so many people. WITNESS started with the simple idea that ‘seeing is believing’ in order to help empower people to create change for themselves and those around them. In 1991, the Rodney King incident occurred, which was further motivation for Peter to move forward with his plan for WITNESS. By 1992 WITNESS was formed with Peter, the Lawyer’s Committee for Human Rights and a seed grant from the Reebok Human Rights Foundation. In 1993 we sent our first 25 video cameras to local human rights groups around the world. Since then we have continued to partner with grassroots organizations in order to advocate for human rights.
L+W- What are some of the areas WITNESS is working in today?
MB- The main way in which we are able to make this system work is by partnering with organizations all over the world. We have partnered with grassroots organizations in such places as Brazil, India, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen, Zimbabwe and Cambodia. We create relationships where we work with them for one to three years to find out what their focus is, who their audience is and how we can incorporate video into their plan for change. We also just started working with coalitions, which is one of our new strategic visions. As technology evolves, we realize that cell phones are quickly taking the place of video cameras, and technology is evolving in new and exciting ways, so we are working with media outlets such as YouTube and Twitter in order to ensure we stay current in manning how video is best used to make human rights stories visible to the world.
L+W- What is the most moving moment you’ve had so far with WITNESS?
MB- I think that change- real, sustainable change- can take such a long time, so when I see a campaign really get started and watch as a partner and think it through, and then actually see success, that is really moving. I’ve been with WITNESS for three years now working with events and individuals mainly on support. We have one partner that works with child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s such a hard issue and so hard to watch these children talk about their experiences. Also just meeting some of our partners, and having them thank us for instilling the aspect of video into their causes, which enables them to take the stories of the people they work with and turn them into tools for social justice is really moving as well. Because after we leave them, they have the ability to continue using video to further their causes.
L+W- How can people get involved with WITNESS?
MB- We’re working on creating a Video Advocacy Planning Toolkit where we walk through each step of how to get started with using video as a tool for advocating for social justice. That will be available soon for people to use and we hope it will be a way to increase awareness and perpetuate the ability to take action.
L+W- Is there anything else we should know about WITNESS?
MB- The main idea is that change is possible, and that anyone can be involved in creating change. Stories are so powerful, and that is the essence of why WITNESS was created. A lot of high school students these days are so much more adept at video than most adults, so finding ways to empower young people now with the ability to use these tools to foster change is a key component to our mission.
Visit WITNESS site: http://www.witness.org/
Blood:Water Mission (An Overview) from Blood:Water Mission on Vimeo.
Mike Lenda- Blood:Water Mission is a grassroots organization based in Nashville, that was started about five years ago by the band Jars of Clay. The band took a trip to Africa on the advice of some local organizations here, since the mission of the band was to become a voice for local causes. They were familiar with the AIDS crisis at the time, but didn’t know the extent of the water crisis. It was when they were driving over dry riverbeds and saw people sticking their faces in the dirt. When they asked what they were doing, they were told the people were drinking. They began to see a link between the AIDS crisis and the water crisis, seeing how difficult it was for people to stay healthy while drinking contaminated, disease-ridden water. It was then that the vision for Blood:Water Mission was formed. They began to use their band as a platform to begin the organization. We now work to empower communities in both the U.S. and Africa to creatively come together and address the water and HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa, and the way we do that is through creative social action, which is similar to what you’re doing with Love + Water Designs. The majority of our funding is raised through local grassroots teams. This includes groups holding a lemonade stand, running a 5K race with sponsors, and anything creative that people can think of.
L+W- How do you structure the funding for the work the organization does?
ML- The band learned quickly that solving the problem of AIDS and water was complicated- people have been trying to address it for decades, so they wanted to create a platform that people in the U.S. could relate to and want to help. As we started to look at all the potential projects we could begin in Africa, we quickly saw that donating $1.00 can provide one year of clean water. That became the band’s platform message; that our dollar can go far. They wanted to see 1,000 communities with safe drinking water in Sub-Saharan Africa when the organization began, and we are now close to having provided 900 communities with safe water. The fact that
we raised all of our funds through individuals has been an amazing part of that accomplishment.
L+W- What do you do in the communities that need help?
ML- We come into the community as partners with other local communities in Africa and work with them to create sustainable communities. Because of that it takes longer to accomplish our mission, but we also feel that the results are long-term and lasting, which makes it worth that time. We do build wells, but sometimes wells are too expensive for a certain community, and so a rain tank that gathers rain and has a filtering system can provide a community with water for a whole year. We get as creative a we need to in order to build the best system for each community. A bio-fan filter is another option we have used, which is similar to a home filter we use here in the U.S.
L+W- How can people get involved with their local contributions?
ML- We have some ideas on our site for people who want to join some of the campaigns we are holding. Right now we have a lemonade campaign, where families can hold a lemonade stand in their communities to raise money. There are also people who come to us with ideas as well, and we welcome those. One man is walking across Europe right now, and had people pledge him per mile. We’ve had fraternities do turkey-fries, people run races, biking riding, and many other unique events that help us raise the money we need to keep going.
L+W- What is the most moving moment you’ve had so far?
ML- I have three small children and to watch how my kids have caught onto the vision has been very moving to me. I’ll come home and my five year-old will say, “I want to have a lemonade stand.” That realization that they are developing a conscience about giving is really moving. We have also had kids come to our office with a mason jar full of change and say to us, “this is for Africa.” These are all very moving.
About Our Mission: Defythirst.org from Defiant Motion Pictures on Vimeo.
Matt Turner and Stephen Dupuis needed to make a change. While still in college they started Defy Thirst in order to help combat the water problem in areas of the world that need it most, and have since been able to create sustainable communities that go way beyond providing clean drinking water. Their mission and work speak for themselves. And they are nothing short of amazing.
Love + Water- How did you and Matt begin your work with Defy Thirst?
L+W- Where did you implement your first system, and how much have you expanded since then?
SD- We started by bringing water filtration systems to areas in Africa that needed them, and then assessed what else these areas might need. We now do intervention programs that include water sanitation and hygiene, so that the filtration systems we implement can be self-sustaining. If we didn’t do this, there are great chances that the systems we provide would become contaminated and not last very long. This way we are able to ensure that the systems will last.
L+W- What projects are you working on right now?
SD- Right now we’re in Africa, in Ghana, installing a water system that provides a gallon of water per minute for their community. We’re also in Haiti starting to build a foundation for a school and some soccer fields, as well as building extra water systems. It will be really exciting when the school is formed because I’ve been talking to a group that trains teachers there, so we would love to work with them to build a better educational system within that community.
L+W- What is the most moving moment you’ve had so far?
SD- We were at a family’s house in Haiti where we were staying on that trip and had just sat down for dinner. The family started thanking us for all we had done and how much it means to them, and that they had been wanting help for so long and hadn’t received aid in over 18 years. That really got me. Also, when we go there and see kids with bloated stomachs because they only eat one meal a day, if that, and they have topical diseases makes me want to go back and do more. I can’t imagine living there my whole life with such a limited amount of resources to live from. We built a couple of houses while there as well, and realized how much more we could do if we had more of a financial foundation.
L+W- Is there anything else we should know about Defy Thirst that we haven’t talked about?
SD- Some people think we only provide clean water, but we actually focus on community planning as a whole. So many times we’ve seen water systems set up in communities, such as wells, without further education on how to utilize it as part of the community and its benefits don’t last. So we really work on coming up with plans that enable communities to thrive after we leave. That is the most fulfilling part of what we do.
Visit Defy Thirst: http://www.defythirst.org/
Follow Defy Thirst on Twitter: @Defythirst
Join the Defy Thirst Facebook Fan Page