This month’s Featured Charity is 3for5.org. Their vision is to unite a community of 20 million people, each giving $5 and inviting 3 friends, to provide sustainable access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene education to millions of people in the developing world!
50% of the profits from the chosen design will go directly to 3for5.org!!!
QUESTIONS? Ask us!!! We LOVE to hear from you… firstname.lastname@example.org
L+W- You are now partnered with Quiksilver- what has that been like?
L+W- I understand also that you stay in the areas where you build wells for as long as it takes to help them build sustainable communities.
L+W- How often do you tend to return to one area before leaving the work entirely in their hands?
TA- It was in a village called Mangalae when we had a meeting with the local women to find out what they needed. We had just done the ‘walk for water’ with them, which was a 3.4 mile walk to the Ruaha River, a terribly dirty source of water. When we sat with them afterwards, we asked them how they felt about getting a new well and whether they would take care of it. One woman said that they would build a wall around it and padlock it and guard it with their lives because clean water is like gold to them. While we were having these conversations there was a woman staring at Alexi and me with such love that I just burst into tears. It was that moment that I realized the impact we were having. As I said earlier it’s easy to become desensitized to what we are doing when we’re focusing on how to raise money, how to get the next well drilled, and all of the logistics involved in planning. But moments like that really serve as a reminder that our work is paying off. It’s really moving.
Blood:Water Mission, the amazing non-profit we recently featured that helps bring safe drinking water while building sustainable communities around the world, has the chance to win $15,000.00 for their projects through a competition from P&G:
1. Learn more about it here: http://pamthenomad.com/archives/1458
2. Take a second to VOTE!
3. Feel good about yourself!
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
David Fuelling started talking to some of the kids of his church youth group about the lack of clean water around the world, and decided to do something about it. So he started 3for5.org, an organization that raises money for clean water through an amazing mathematical concept: reach 20 million people who all give $5.00. And they’re well on their way to meeting their goal!
Love and Water- How did you come up with the idea for 3for5?
David Fuelling- My wife and I were volunteering for our church youth group and we were trying to get the kids interested and involved in something bigger and greater than what they deal with everyday. We started talking about worldwide humanitarian issues, and I knew that places in the developing world lacked clean water but didn’t know exactly how dire the lack of clean water is in some areas. There are nearly a billion people who don’t have clean water, so it’s a huge issue. So many kids die every year from lack of clean water. We knew we wanted to help and it seemed such a huge undertaking because we don’t have millions of dollars. But we do have some friends, and those friends have some friends, and we thought that we could start there. Everybody can support clean water, so we thought it could just be a function of getting the word out and seeing how much support we could get.
L&W- Where did the initial funding come from to start the organization?
DF- We went to friends and family, and there were a couple of family friends who really got behind the mission. They helped us come up with some ideas and helped us really get it off the ground. We launched our website in September of ’09 and we just broke $8,400.00, which seems small in the grand scheme of things but it has really helped us see how the concept we put together is working. Most donations are $20.00 or less, so we’ve done really well considering the structure we’ve set up. I think it will take some time to reach our goal of 20 million people, but it’s very doable.
L&W- Can you explain the mathematics behind the concept of 3for5, since it’s such a brilliant idea?
DF- Every time a person invites three friends and each person gives $5.00, that’s $20.00. We call that a “wave” of clean water. When those three friends invite three friends to give another $5.00, then nine more people are involved and we call that another “wave.” So every time a person gets three friends to join they form a wave. It only takes 15 waves of a social network to reach 20 million people. It’s exponential growth of the community as we move forward. So far we have people who have made five waves, which is really inspiring. It will start off rather slow, but then every time someone can add three friends the growth triples.
L&W- What is the most moving experience you’ve had so far watching your organization grow?
DF- Becoming aware of what is going on in other countries because of their lack of clean water is up there, for sure. That’s what got us to move and to act. I would say on par with that is the amount of people who have actually come to us and said they want to help somehow. That has been really tremendous because my wife and I would never have been able to do this alone. Early on we were talking to a friend who is an attorney, and she loved the concept from the start. She offered to ask her law firm if they would want to represent us, since they took on pro bono clients occasionally. They ended up taking us on, and so all of our legal help has been free. We were really moved by that, and that’s just one example of how friends and family have volunteered to help.
L&W- There are many water charities working to end this problem around the world. How do you interact with them to help each other?
DF- There is a lot of data that proves that a community does better when they own their own water system, so a lot of water charities are making sure that happens. We are primarily focused on the charity side of things, although we’re always talking to other organizations to see what they’re doing in terms of getting creative and intend to support them as time goes on. Once we raise our first $10,000, Water for People will be our first grant recipient. Another great organization is Water Alliance, which is a group of water charities helping each other. The hard truth is that there is just not enough charity money to solve the problem, so there has to be the sustainablility aspect, where people are able to learn how to build their own resources to provide themselves with clean water. We’re of the opinion that we want to concentrate on fundraising so we can support the many great organizations that have the capacity to build wells and interact with the people. We want to help them do more of that, so partnering is the key.
L&W- How has social media been helpful in raising awareness for you?
DF- Social media has been a major catalyst in raising awareness and getting people involved. We had the pleasure of going to Blog World, which was a social networking competition that Ebay and Pay Pal put on, and the idea was to vote for your favorite charity. We used Facebook and Twitter to rally our troops and ended up in the top ten, so we got a free pass to Blog World. Email has been huge for us as well. That is one of our primary conduits of communicating with our followers. We send regular emails to keep in touch. All aspects of social media have been extremely helpful in different ways.
L&W- Is there anything else people should know about 3for5?
DF- *We’re trying to raise our first $10,000.00 in the next few weeks, and we’re really close. As soon as we raise that we’re going to give our first grant to Water for People. So we would love for people to make a few waves and help us reach that goal.
L&W- Thanks so much for sharing with us, David.
DF- It’s my pleasure. Thank you- we look forward to being further involved with Love and Water.
*As of Monday, February 8, 3for5.org reached their first $10,000.00!
L&W- What would you say is the main driving force behind Abundant Water?
BF- I think that WHAT is the important word there. For myself it is both the pressing need of the water situation and satisfying the inbuilt ‘need’ to do something good that I can be proud of. So trying to address the needs of the critical water situation, step by step moving towards this concrete goal, is a way of making a contribution to society and fulfilling the personal need to make a difference. Once people realize they have something to contribute and can connect it to contributing to the greater cause then they feel motivated.
BF- Quite a bit. A few examples are the June 2009 Twitter Challenge Top10Causes, which @abundantwater reached third place (http://twitter.com/Top10Causes); in August 2009 Allianz Knowledge, which is a division of Allianz Insurance Group and focuses on Climate Change, Energy, Microfinance, Demographic Change, and Safety and Health, included Abundant Water in a media feature entitled “10 Ways to Address Water Scarcity“ ( http://knowledge.allianz.com/en/media/galleries/water_supply_solutions.html); in September 2009 the Abundant Water Video is posted on The Water Channel
L&W- What is the one message you would like young people to understand about Abundant Water?
One billion people on the planet don’t have clean drinking water. That’s one in six people. Charity: Water is a non-profit organization started by Scott Harrison that brings safe drinking water to people in developing nations, and 100% of all public donations directly fund these projects. How can you not be in love with this organization?? Love and Water talked to the head of communications and media and Scott’s executive assistant, Nicky Yates, about the incredible power behind this AMAZING organization.
Love and Water- Can you talk a little about Scott’s inspiration to start this incredible organization?
Nicky Yates- He started it in 2006. Prior to that he had done 10 years of event and party promotions here in Manhattan. Kind of living the high life- Budweiser used to pay him to drink their beer- very indulgent. He woke up one day and had a feeling there was something more, which lead him to return to his childhood roots of faith. He spent two years traveling on a humanitarian medical ship called Mercy Ships. While traveling with them his eyes were opened to so many things other countries are lacking by way of medical care. And the one thing that he kept seeing were women coming onto the ship with problems that were easily treatable in the United States from water. So he came back to the U.S. and did the one thing he knew how to do best- throw a party. And he asked all of his friends to donate money so he could build a project for these people. He raised around $15,000.00 in that one night, went to Uganda and fielded six projects there to provide safer drinking water. And Charity: Water was born from there.
L&W- Can you explain how the projects are built in order to bring clean drinking water to places that don’t have it?
NY- We first find groups who are doing exemplary work in the field, and we help them get the project built from start to finish, so nothing gets left out. Every project involves getting local communities to take part in the training process so they know how to update and maintain it. They also receive regular routine checks so that they’re evaluated once a year, and they get hygiene updates as well. So every project has a sanitation project in place and hygiene training.
L&W- What is the current project that you’re working on?
NY- Right now we are in 16 countries and we have over 14 projects going on.
L&W- That’s phenomenal.
NY- It’s really great. We’ve really been able to grow over the past four years.
L&W- What is the most moving experience you’ve had so far?
NY- Well, I’ll tell you one from here and one from out in the field. Last year we did an exhibition in a gallery space in Houston. And we use these 4’x6′ images to really highlight what we do and what life is like for the people we are helping. We also use a lot of video. For this one we focused on a health clinic in Kenya. So many people were getting sick from drinking from the local river, and we had many of the people we had helped on the video. And this one woman came in from Baylor Hospital in Texas and it really broke her heart, and she starting weeping in the gallery because she knew how important this was. Watching it touch her in that way just touched me so much; watching someone really get it in such a deep and compassionate way. The second one was when we were in Honduras, and we took a canoe down the river for about eight hours to this little village called Rioplatano at the edge of the country. There was this five year old girl who we started talking to who lived with her grandmother. We found out that there was an open pit that her grandmother had dug filled with muddy water, and there was all this sewage all around because there was no place for it all to go. And as I was picking up my pants and carefully trying not to step in it this little girl was walking right through it with bare feet. And it broke my heart, the level of poverty and need in that area.
L&W- I don’t know that enough people realize that this kind of situation exists. We take our drinking water for granted because we are so fortunate to have it at our disposal.
NY- It’s true.
L&W- What are the reactions of the people in these areas when you educate them about how to practice better hygiene and drink better water?
NY- Pure joy. We have video on our site from Haiti where there’s just a ton of celebration there. And in Ethipia as well. A large amount of gratitude. They know what it is, they know they’re finally getting clean drinking water and it’s a gift.
L&W- Have you been back to visit some of the first projects you built?
NY- Yes, Becky Straw recently returned from Uganda to see our first six projects. She did a story for Good Magazine that came out about a month ago, and we have more of that on our website.
L&W- That’s fantastic. You know, the tagline for Love and Water is “every drop counts,” because a lot of a little adds up to a lot really fast. Can you talk about how you feel about that in relation to Charity: Water?
NY- Well most of our donations are small donations. We have numerous campaigns, one being a scrapbooking campaign on My Charity Water where the donation is something like $15.00, and they’ve raised $7,500.00. That’s enough for one water project, and they’re halfway toward another one. Since we give 100% to the field, we see clearly how every little bit matters. Anyone can create a page on My Charity Water, and start raising money, and it’s incredible what a little can add up to in a very short time.
L&W- Thank you so much for taking time talk today Nicky.
NY- It was my pleasure. Thank you.