Tim Louis: Let's shine a spotlight on charity: water

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      This week’s blog is about the most powerful and moving video I have ever watched.

      The movie documents Scott Harrison’s life up until and after he created the nonprofit organization charity: water.

      The mission of charity: water—the mission that drives Scott Harrison’s life—is to bring clean water to everyone on the planet.

      Scott’s early life took him in a very different direction. Growing up in suburbia as a major support to his chronically ill mother, he first wanted to be a doctor to help other sick people. Then at the age of 18, he joined a band and moved to New York City. Eventually he became a nightclub promoter there and for the next decade, as he says, indulged his darkest vices.

      Feeling unhealthy and morally bankrupt, he decided it was time to change and to follow his youthful, more altruistic goals. He spent the next two years volunteering on a hospital ship in Liberia—a transforming experience.

      During that time, he became deeply aware that too many people in Africa’s rural villages were sick and dying because they only had access to dirty water.

      He returned to New York, on a mission to change that reality. charity: water was born.

      The need is dire. Scott Harrison is clear in explaining the issue:

      • Dirty water is responsible for more deaths in the world than all forms of violence, including war.
      • 663,000,000 people on our planet do not have access to clean water—nearly 10 percent of the global population.
      • These are not just statistics. These are real lives and many of those dying are children.

      Scott started small, raising $15,000 from 700 donors, the total of which was used to build three wells in a refugee camp in northern Uganda. He then sent pictures, GPS coordinates, and the story back to his 700 donors, so they could see exactly what their donations had achieved.

      Realizing that many people don’t trust charities—about 42 percent in the U.S.A.—Scott’s commitment has remained that 100% of all donated funds go directly to providing clean water. None are used to cover administrative expenses. Scott has created a separate organization that has its own patrons. This separate organization covers all administrative expenses.

      In addition, charity: water also provides proof of each project they have funded, with photos and GPS coordinates, and tracking by water sensors to ensure the clean water continues to flow. To ensure sustainability, the work is led by locals.

      From that small start a decade ago, charity: water has been able to provide clean water for six million people. The organization continues to expand, with an aspirational goal of eventually attracting a million small and larger monthly donors to deliver clean water throughout the world.

      On Saturday July 23rd, I was three-quarters of the way through the video when my ride came to take me to a totally unrelated event, so I had to stop watching. For the rest of the day and that night, I could not wait for an opportunity to watch the rest of it.

      I would urge you to take just 20 minutes right now to watch the most compelling video you will ever see.

      The film is found on charity: water’s homepage. At the bottom of the homepage there is a picture of Scott on the right. This is the 20-minute video you want to watch. Click here to get to the homepage.


      Daily atmospheric CO2 [Courtesy of CO2.Earth]

      Latest daily total (July 28, 2022): 416.49ppm

      One year ago (July 28, 2021): 414.14pm

      Tim Louis is a Vancouver lawyer and former city councillor and park commissioner. This article originally appeared on his blog.