Water Charity of the Week: UNICEF Tap Project

UNICEF Tap Project, Celebrity Tap Pack“When you take water, give water.”

This simple concept is the foundation for the UNICEF Tap Project, founded during World Water Week of 2007, to raise funds for millions of children around the world to gain access to clean water. As we’ve mentioned in several of our posts, millions of people lack access to this basic need. In some nations, women and children must walk more than five miles a day just to collect water for their families. This lengthy process prevents them from other opportunities; children are kept from school, and women are kept from performing other basic, but necessary, domestic duties. Water charities like UNICEF’s Tap Project exist to raise money to support clean water and sanitation solutions in developing countries.

Since World Water Week 2011 is next week (March 20-26), we thought UNICEF’s Tap Project would be the perfect charity to feature on our blog to mark #charitytuesday on twitter. What’s unique about this project is their way of raising money. UNICEF partners with hundreds of restaurants across the U.S., asking patrons to donate $1 each time they order free tap water, during World Water Week. Since it’s inception in 2007, UNICEF Tap Project has raised more than $2.5 million toward clean water solutions.

And this year, UNICEF is teaming up with celebrities on a special “Celebrity Tap Project.” Singers, Rhianna and Taylor Swift along with Selena Gomez, and Entourage actor, Adrian Grenier are bottling tap water from their homes. Each $5 donation made to the UNICEF Celebrity Tap Project will give supporters a chance to win a limited edition Celebrity Tap Pack, featuring one bottle of water from each of these celebrities’ home faucets.

While we don’t normally support bottled water, or the celebrity endorsement of bottled water, this is an interesting way to draw attention to the need for clean water in developing nations. It also conveniently drives home the point that most bottled water is nothing more than tap anyway. Even if it comes from a celebrity, we’re willing to bet that most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between their home tap water and the variety that came out of Taylor Swift’s faucet. Still, we can’t help but applaud these four celebrities, and UNICEF, for their innovative efforts.

Water Charity of the Week: An-Tiki and WaterAid

antiki raft made of water pipesOn Sunday January 30, a crew of seniors, aged 56 to 84, set sail on the An-Tiki, a raft constructed of water pipes. The purpose of their 70-day, 2,800-mile voyage: To raise 50,000 pounds for WaterAid, an international, nonprofit organization that partners with local organizations in 26 countries in Asia, Africa and parts of the Pacific Region to implement safe water, sanitation and hygiene education in rural and urban areas. WaterAid helps establish clean water systems, while also enabling families to maintain them, ensuring long-term, sustainable success for all parties involved.

While sailing on saltwater, the An-Tiki crew hopes to raise awareness of the fact that it is fresh water that keeps us alive, but it’s also fresh water that many people in the world lack access to. While on board, the crew will have plenty of water, but will also collect rainwater and convert saltwater into fresh, to remind themselves of its importance to our livelihood. While raising money for clean water, these men also hope to demonstrate that adventure is just as suitable for seniors as it is for youngsters. It is impressive to note that the oldest gentleman in the crew, An-Tiki Captain Anthony Smith, has been a traveling adventurer for nearly all of the 84 years he’s been alive.

The An-Tiki is a testament to the importance of clean water, just as the Plastiki has been a testament to the importance of plastic waste reduction – and we thought this unique effort deserved this week’s spot in our featured water charities, in honor of #charitytuesday on Twitter. To support Antiki in it’s fundraising efforts for WaterAid, make a donation online through the An-Tiki Just Giving page. To track the voyage live online, visit the An-Tiki Yellowbrick Satellite Adventure Tracking page.