We always feel good about giving the gift of clean water. In my opinion, water is a god given right – like air…
But the fact that there are still such staggering statistics, such as – 1 out of 6 people do not have access to clean drinking water – means there is obviously a hole in the equation. I say it all the time, but there is absolutely no reason that ANYONE should die from dirty water when solutions, like the simple water filtration devices we use, exist. So our primary goal has been to fill that hole by simply connecting the brilliant technology that already exists with the people who need it. It’s nobodies fault, there’s just missing links in the chain sometimes. In this case, the gifted minds who created this incredible technology did their job perfectly – they created user-friendly devices that can make almost any contaminated water, potable. But it isn’t necessarily their job to identify the individuals around the world who so desperately need them… or be the ones to deliver them for that matter. And the folks around the world who are in such dire need solutions like this, don’t have the slightest idea that they exist. That’s where we come in… and on behalf of W4W I will say we are honored to play a roll, of any size, in the big vision that so many people around the world share, which is – clean water for everyone!
I am very proud that we as individuals can always do our part in this fight… and make a difference one person at a time. Actually, it is inspiring to know that one person can provide a hundred people with clean water by putting just one filter in their luggage the next time they travel. This concept was obviously the inception for our Clean Water Couriers program – which, at this point, has legitimately turned into a movement. I like fantasizing about the one for one model – each of us individually doing our part to help one another, with the end result being a complete eradication of the problem. It really is the strength in numbers philosophy and I do believe it CAN be done. And when it is… the credit will not be be shared by a few, but equally with everyone that did their part, big or small.
That said, there are ways to speed up the process and one of the best is to form solid partnerships with other individuals, organizations, corporations, or groups who simply share the same passions for correcting the number of imbalances we face in the world today – in this case: clean water. Whether it’s a merger of large groups or one person doing their part, the fundamentals stay the same – what separates the two models is scale. For example, through our partnership with Hurley more people around the world have clean water – period. Without a partnership of this nature we would still be happily powering away, but the scale would be dramatically different. During our last trip to Haiti proof of this point was made very clear.
We went down to complete phase 2 of the GameChanger Kit project we launched last fall. The original concept for this project was simple: sport + water = GameChanger Kit. We decided that everyone in the communities we target obviously need (and benefit from) clean water… but we felt by adding a sport element into the equation it could, at the very least, provide them with a much needed escape from all the other incredibly hard problems they face each and everyday. Soccer, being the most universally played sport in the world, was the obvious choice. So for this project, in addition to the normal water filters we include, each bucket contained a soccer ball (and little cones to mark the field). We piloted the project in last Sep by distributing kits to two small villages in the Leogone area (epicenter of earthquake). The results were priceless… it was the first time since I started doing this work that all I thought of at the end of the day was the sound of children laughing. People are always grateful when we provide them with clean water, but in giving them an opportunity to participate in a playful activity such as soccer, truly was a game-changer for them… and for us!
The power of collaboration… is a beautiful thing! This time around, we provided access to clean water and sport to 80,000 people – That’s the scale I’m talking about! I feel incredibly lucky to have partnered with such committed and conscious partners as Nike and Hurley on this project… and furthermore, the partners on the ground that helped us get these kits into the communities that needed them most: Fritz Pierre-Louis, who really is the backbone of so much that we do in Haiti… and GOALS, a great grass roots organization that helped distribute the kits throughout their soccer driven community programs across the country.
I have reached a conclusion through the countless projects we participate in across the globe, that to correct the imbalances of the world we must first make the choice to do our part… but ultimately, the battle will be won by us joining hands and fighting together…
Attached are some of the images I shot with my phone during this project… but for a more comprehensive viewing, please see this amazing video shot and edited by Tom Aiello – http://vimeo.com/27752717