Matt Damon is trying to save the world.
This may sound like a line from a movie trailer, but Matt Damon’s non-profit organization, Water.org, is trying to save those 1 billion people around the world that do not have clean water. In 2009, co- founder Gary White’s WaterPartners merged with Damon’s H20 Africa and Water.org was born. Damon and White have set out to find new financing models and long lasting solutions to the world’s water crisis.
Water.org focuses on drilling new wells in those desperate communities that need them most. When the community in need requests a project, one of Water.org’s local partners evaluates the request and then works directly with the team at Water.org to create a funding plan. While this may seem counterintuitive, the people at Water.org believe, “During the past 20 years, we have found that demand-driven projects are far more sustainable than projects where an outsider makes the decision to provide a project.” In places like Bhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, where 31 million people do not have clean water, Matt Damon and the people at Water.org are using grants and WaterCredit programs to address safe water needs in both rural and urban areas.
Water.org’s WaterCredit program is one of the organizations innovative ways to combat the world water crisis. Since grants alone are not enough to reach the billion people in need of fresh, clean water, the WaterCredit program gives small loans to individuals and communities so they can address their own water needs. This not only gives people the power to solve their own communities’ water crisis, it also yields more long term success. Water.org has invested over $2.9 million dollars in WaterCredit programs, with success stories coming from all parts of Bangladesh, India, and Kenya.
In India, a woman named S. Gandhamani took out a WaterCredit loan to install a new water tap outside of her home. Today, Gandhamani now has access to fresh water daily. The wastewater that runs from the drainage around the tap has now allowed her to start a flourishing garden of banana trees. Gandhamani sells these bananas at market and brings in extra money for her family.
So how can you help Matt Damon and Water.org? You can donate money in any amount you like over their secure website. They also offer the option to donate in someone else’s name, and they will send a “Gift of Water” card to the recipient. Water.org also launched their sister website, My.Water.org- which allows you to track various communities around the world where Water.org is making a difference. Similar to Twitter, you are able to comment and communicate with people who are involved with Water.Org. This is an inventive way for people to see where their donations are going, and to see how different communities, such as La Kabouy, in Haiti, are progressing. So this week, our Charity Tuesday choice is Water.org- and it’s not just because Matt Damon is a total stud.